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UK Authorizes Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine for Emergency Use

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FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2020, file photo, a general view of Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium in Puurs, Belgium. Pfizer and BioNTech say they've won permission Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science -- and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

LONDON, U.K. (AP) — British officials authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Wednesday, greenlighting the world’s first shot against the virus that’s backed by rigorous science and taking a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.

The go-ahead for the vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech comes as the virus surges again in the United States and Europe, putting pressure on hospitals and morgues in some places and forcing new rounds of restrictions that have devastated economies.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which licenses drugs in the U.K., recommended the vaccine could be used after it reviewed the results of clinical trials that showed the vaccine was 95% effective overall — and that it also offered significant protection for older people, among those most at risk of dying from the disease. But the vaccine remains experimental while final testing is done.

“Help is on its way,″ British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC, adding that the situation would start to improve in the spring.

“We now have a vaccine. We’re the first country in the world to have one formally clinically authorized but, between now and then, we’ve got to hold on, we’ve got to hold our resolve,” he said.

Other countries aren’t far behind: Regulators in the United States and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer shot along with a similar vaccine made by competitor Moderna Inc. British regulators also are considering another shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Hancock said Britain expects to begin receiving the first shipment of 800,000 doses “within days,″ and people will begin receiving shots as soon as the National Health Service gets the vaccine.

Doses everywhere are scarce, and initial supplies will be rationed until more is manufactured in the first several months of next year.

A government committee will release details of vaccination priorities later Wednesday, but Hancock said nursing home residents, people over 80, and healthcare workers and other care workers will be the first to receive the shot.

Pfizer said it would immediately begin shipping limited supplies to the U.K. — and has been gearing up for even wider distribution if given a similar nod by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a decision expected as early as next week.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called the U.K. decision “a historic moment.”

“We are focusing on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world,” Bourla said in a statement.

While the U.K. has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough for 20 million people, it’s not clear how many will arrive by year’s end. Hancock said the U.K. expects to receive “millions of doses” by the end of this year, adding that the actual number will depend on how fast Pfizer can produce the vaccine.

One concern about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is that it must be stored and shipped at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit), adding to the challenge of distributing the vaccine around the world.

Pfizer says it has developed shipping containers that use dry ice to keep the vaccine cool. GPS-enabled sensors will allow the company to track each shipment and ensure they stay cold, the company says.

“Pfizer has vast experience and expertise in cold-chain shipping and has an established infrastructure to supply the vaccine worldwide, including distribution hubs that can store vaccine doses for up to six months,” the company said in a statement.

The company also says it has agreed to work with other vaccine makers to ensure there is sufficient supply and a range of vaccines, “including those suitable for global access.”

Every country has different rules for determining when an experimental vaccine is safe and effective enough to use. Intense political pressure to be the first to roll out a rigorously scientifically tested shot colored the race in the U.S. and Britain, even as researchers pledged to cut no corners. In contrast, China and Russia have offered different vaccinations to their citizens ahead of late-stage testing.

The shots made by U.S.-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech were tested in tens of thousands of people. And while that study isn’t complete, early results suggest the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease. The companies told regulators that of the first 170 infections detected in study volunteers, only eight were among people who’d received the actual vaccine and the rest had gotten a dummy shot.

“This is an extraordinarily strong protection,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s CEO, recently told The Associated Press.

The companies also reported no serious side effects, although vaccine recipients may experience temporary pain and flu-like reactions immediately after injections.

Final testing must still be completed. Still to be determined is whether the Pfizer-BioNTech shots protect against people spreading the coronavirus without showing symptoms. Another question is how long protection lasts.

The vaccine also has been tested in only a small number of children, none younger than 12, and there’s no information on its effects in pregnant women.

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Orlando Area Residential Real Estate Snapshot for March 2024

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State of the Market

  • Overall sales rose 17.7% from February to March. There were 2,559 sales in March, up from 2,174 sales in February.
  • The median home price for March was recorded at $386,500, up from $377,000 in February. The highest monthly median home price on record in the Orlando area was $387,000 in June 2022.
  • Pending sales increased by 9.4%, with 3,891 in February and 4,257 in March.
  • New listings rose 8.6% from February to March, with 4,124 new homes on the market in March, compared to 3,799 in February.
  • Inventory for March was recorded at 8,971, up 4.4% from February when inventory was recorded at 8,589.
  • March’s interest rate was recorded at 6.7%, up slightly from 6.6% in February.
  • Homes spent an average of 58 days on the market (DOM) in March – up slightly from February.
  • “The busy spring season for the real estate market is in full swing,” said Rose Kemp, Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association President. “We’ve seen a steady increase in sales, median home price and inventory every month this year. Our median home price in March was very close to our peak from June 2022, so it will be interesting to see how these high prices affect the market in the coming months.”

Market Snapshot

  • Interest rates rose from 6.6% in February to 6.7% in March.
  • Pending sales rose 9.4%, with 3,891 in February and 4,257 in March.
  • 23 distressed homes (bank-owned properties and short sales) accounted for 0.9% of all home sales in March. That represents an 8.0% decrease from February when 25 distressed homes sold.

Inventory

  • Orlando area inventory increased 4.4% from February to March. Inventory in February was 8,589, and inventory in March was 8,971.
  • The supply of homes fell to 3.51 months in March, down 11.3% from 3.95 months in February. A balanced market is six months of supply.
  • The number of new listings increased from February to March by 8.6% – from 3,799 homes to 4,124 homes.

ORRA’s full State of the Market Report for March can be found here.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association and the Stellar Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor StellarMLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or by StellarMLS does not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Due to late closings, an adjustment is necessary to record those closings posted after our reporting date.

ORRA REALTOR® sales represent sales involving Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association members, who are primarily – but not exclusively – located in Orange and Seminole counties. Note that statistics released each month may be revised in the future as new data is received.

Orlando MSA numbers reflect sales of homes located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties by members of any REALTOR® association, not just members of ORRA.

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Mobil 1 Marks 50th Anniversary with Celebratory Racing Liveries Throughout 2024 Motorsports Season

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SPRING, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mobil 1™ motor oil, this year the brand will showcase more than 40 iconic, specially-designed liveries and paint schemes on the track throughout the 2024 motorsports season.

These liveries – which will be seen within IMSA, WEC, Formula 1, NASCAR, NHRA, MotoGP and more – use distinct design elements, including anniversary gold, both signifying 50 years of the Mobil 1 brand and embodying the dynamic relationships between Mobil 1 and its collaborators. Each paint scheme reflects the spirit of the Mobil 1 brand and an ongoing commitment to growing and maintaining meaningful track-to-road relationships, which is at the heart and soul of the brand.

Mobil 1 motor oils have long been the choice for preeminent race teams competing in the most demanding and popular motorsports series around the globe. Today, Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil continues to be relied upon for its ability to deliver exceptional engine performance and protection under some of the most extreme conditions. Automotive technicians, race car drivers, team owners, and some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers can speak to the advanced technology of Mobil 1 lubricants.

“We are thrilled to bring these special paint schemes to life for such a historic anniversary of the Mobil 1 brand,” said Robert Shearer, Director of Global Sponsorships on behalf of Mobil 1. “These liveries exemplify our collaborations in lubricant innovation in the world of motorsports. Together, we’ve crafted livery designs that not only pay homage to the 50-year legacy of the Mobil 1 brand, but also capture the essence of speed, performance and teamwork. We can’t wait for fans to join us in the love of racing and witness the culmination of our collaborative efforts on the racetrack throughout the rest of the year.”

At Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac, golden liveries will hit the track for teams and OEMs, including Vasser Sullivan Racing (Lexus Racing), Cadillac Racing, Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports, Kellymoss with Riley (Porsche Motorsport North America), and Porsche Penske Motorsport.

With more added throughout the season, initial 50th anniversary liveries and iconography will be seen at the following upcoming race series on sponsored teams:

  • Oracle Red Bull Racing (Formula 1)
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (NASCAR Cup Series)
  • 23XI Racing (NASCAR Cup Series)
  • Tony Stewart Racing (NHRA)
  • Red Bull KTM (MotoGP)
  • Porsche Penske Motorsport (WEC and IMSA)
  • TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team (Formula E)
  • Mobil 1 Porsche SuperCup
  • At the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with BBI Autosport

In continuing to commemorate the 50th anniversary, fans should also look for a short film featuring former Formula 1 racer & Oracle Red Bull Racing ambassador, David Coulthard, who guides the audience through the Mobil 1 brand’s evolution, collaborations, and achievements. The video is available for viewing here.

Additional initiatives across partnerships, motorsports, and events will be shared through the year as the brand continues to celebrate its legacy and what’s next. For coverage of Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac as well as upcoming gold liveries and paint schemes, visit @mobil1racing on Instagram and X all year-long.

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“Unfortunately, not a lot has changed for girls in football.”

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HERZOGENAURACH, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PUMA CEO Arne Freundt and Alexandra Popp, the captain of the Germany national football team, spoke about leadership and the challenges of women in football. The video interview is part of the sports company’s digital annual report, which was published on March 18 on about.puma.com.

Voted Germany’s footballer of the year three times, Alexandra is one of the most prominent ambassadors for women’s football and she is known for her skill and charismatic leadership on the pitch. She started off her career playing in a mixed team, and she distinctly recalled how girls were often belittled and treated unfairly on the pitch.

“Football is still pretty tough for girls. The boys in my team were cool. But our opponents were another story. They laughed at you. They said: look, they have a girl in their team, we’ll beat them easily,” Alexandra said. “Or when you play and you dribble past the first guy, maybe past the second guy and then the third guy fouls you hard and knocks you off your feet. In a very nasty way. And you have the parents on the sidelines who cheer him on. If you hear how girls are still being treated at some of the clubs, not a lot has changed.”

Arne said her story showed how much there is still to be done to create a level playing field for women in football.

“Your story is very inspiring and had a huge impact on me. I had thought and hoped that our society would be more open and judge players on their skills and performance and not on their gender,” Arne said on his LinkedIn channel. “It clearly shows that we have still a huge way to go. As a sports company we are 100% committed to support trailblazers like you who prove the haters and doubters wrong.”

In spite of the difficult time as a youth player, Alexandra believes the challenges early in her career gave her the thick skin necessary to persevere in her long and successful career.

“I totally get the girls who say: I don’t want that,” she said. “Because it was the path I chose to follow, I can now say that those years helped me build up a certain resilience and a certain mentality. Maybe it was what made me the type and the character I am today when I’m on the pitch.”

When it comes to leadership, Alex said she believes that the necessary skills were part of her mindset early on in her career, but she noted that she still had a lot to learn once she was asked to captain the team.

“I needed a year to grow into that position, especially when it came to communication,” Alexandra said. “As a player, I benefited from tough, straightforward advice. And I thought, well I’ll do it exactly the same way. But that really backfired with some of the players. I had to learn that.”

Arne, who became PUMA CEO in 2022, said he quickly discovered how much he enjoyed leading a team and developing people to reach their full potential.

“My first team was quite small, just two employees,” Arne said. “But I already really enjoyed it back then, to lead them, to develop them and to see that you have an impact. You make them better at what they do.”

Asked to give advice to young people who want to become CEOs themselves, Arne said they should first and foremost follow their passion.

“Look for something that you really enjoy doing. That intrinsically motivates you,” Arne said. “That gives you energy and moves you forward. Once you have found that, there are no further barriers to making you successful.”

Alexandra will captain Germany at the Olympic Football Tournament in Paris this year.

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