Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Global vaccine campaign gains pace as Brazil approves jabs



Global vaccine campaign gains pace as Brazil approves jabs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Health workers line up to receive the CoronaVac Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine against Covid-19 coronavirus at Clinicas hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. AFP

Global vaccine campaign gains pace as Brazil approves jabs

The global Covid-19 vaccination drive gained pace on January 17 as Brazil gave its first injections and India pushed on with its massive campaign, while European authorities sought to allay concerns about delays in supplies.

Brazil’s health regulator gave the green light for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and China’s CoronaVac to be used as the Latin American giant suffers a devastating second wave of the coronavirus.

Monica Calazans, a 54-year-old intensive care nurse in Sao Paulo became the first person in Brazil to receive the Chinese CoronaVac jab after the Anvisa watchdog’s highly anticipated ruling.

Growing concerns over different strains of the virus have meanwhile prompted governments to tighten curbs in a bid to stem a global death toll that has already surpassed two million.

Good start in India

India’s vaccination drive got off to a successful start on January 16 with more than 224,000 people receiving their first jabs and just three people hospitalised after side effects, the health ministry said January 17.

The government plans to immunise some 300 million people out of its population of 1.3 billion by July – equivalent to almost the entire US population.

In Europe, both France and Russia were gearing up for a key week in the vaccine effort.

Russia starts mass immunisations on January 18 using its homegrown Sputnik V vaccine, while the French government is hoping to overcome fierce criticism of a sluggish rollout as it begins inoculating the over-75s.

Across the European Union there have been concerns that delays in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could further slow a campaign which critics have condemned as less agile than in the United States or Britain, a recently-departed EU member.

US drugmaker Pfizer said it was working to “significantly” scale up production at its plant in Belgium in the second quarter.

After a short delay, deliveries should be back to the original schedule to the EU from January 25.

“There’s a dip,” France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune told Franceinfo radio.

“But it’s better that it happens now when we have stockpiles than when the wider vaccination campaign starts.”

Biden eyes 100 million doses

Joe Biden’s goal of seeing 100 million vaccine doses injected within his first 100 days in office is meanwhile “absolutely” achievable, top US scientist Anthony Fauci said, days before he is to become the new president’s chief advisor on Covid-19.

Biden has unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to revive the economy of the country worst-hit by the virus, which has killed more than 397,000 people in the US.

In Israel, the prison service said it would begin vaccinating all inmates, following an outcry over an announcement from Public Security Minister Amir Ohana that Palestinian prisoners would be the last to get inoculated.

Israel has given at least one vaccine dose to more than two million of its citizens, a pace widely described as the world’s fastest per capita.

Spain has begun administering second doses to people who had already received the first at the end of December, mostly nursing home residents and care staff. And in Norway, where 13 frail elderly people died after a first vaccine injection, the Medicines Agency said there was no cause for alarm after suggestions last week that the deaths could be linked to side effects.

100 arrested in Amsterdam

Until vaccination is widespread, countries across the globe are still having to rely on lockdowns, curfews and social distancing to control the spread of the virus – particularly as new variants proliferate.

On January 17, a Belgian elderly care home said that a British strain of the coronavirus, which several studies suggest is up to 70 per cent more contagious, had been detected in 111 residents and staff. Three residents have died.

Fears over the strain were cited as the justification for Austria’s decision to extend its third national lockdown by another two weeks until February 8.

After months of restrictions resentment is growing in some quarters, with around 100 people arrested on at an anti-lockdown protest in Amsterdam.

Police used water cannon to clear the demonstrators, some of whom threw stones at the officers, Amsterdam city hall said in a statement.

Switzerland and Italy are tightening their restrictions from January 18 and Britain will require all arrivals to quarantine and show negative tests. Oman meanwhile said it will close its land borders for up to two weeks.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration