The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which started almost a year back has infected over 72 million people and killed 1.6 million till now, as per worldometer figures. Various governments across the world, in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, have carried out extensive work to develop vaccines that can get the world rid of this pandemic which originated in China’s Wuhan.
The United States, which has crossed over 16 million coronavirus cases will start rolling the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech from Monday morning. While, the United Kingdom’s vaccine regulator will examine all data trials of the vaccine made by Oxford and AstraZeneca.
Here are the latest updates on Covid-19 vaccine development:
1. Brazil unveiled its national vaccination plan on Saturday with an aim of vaccinating 51 million people in the first half of 2021. In a document submitted to the Supreme Court which gave the government a deadline to draw up the plan, the health ministry said that 108 million doses will be available for priority vaccination of health workers, senior citizens and those most vulnerable to the disease.
2. A top United States official told news agency AFP that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would reach hospitals and other sites across the country on Monday morning. Earlier, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Saturday it had approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine by pilots and air traffic controllers. The country has crossed 16 million Covid-19 cases while the death toll stands at 305,082, according to worldometer figures.
3. Britain-based pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca on Saturday said it was purchasing United States biotech firm Alexion for $39 billion in order to boost its work in immunology. The vaccine to combat Covid-19 developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University which is awaiting regulatory approvals, will be used for a “mix and match” trial with Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.
4. In India, citizens with heart problems, diabetes and hypertension might get the Covid-19 vaccine doses on a priority basis, officials familiar with the development said adding that there will be a door-door survey and government databases will be used to identify such people.
5. Maharashtra government is rallying up to administer vaccine doses to over 30 million people in three phases over a period of six months, officials stated adding that the vaccination drive will be conducted in a systematic manner and people will have to register online and they will further be asked to be present at a vaccination camp on a specified date and time.
6. Peru suspended the trials of China’s Sinopharm vaccine due to a ‘serious adverse’ event that occurred with one of its volunteers chosen for the study, the government said on Saturday. The health ministry added that the event was under probe. Sinopharm is conducting trials on 12,000 volunteers in Peru and was about to complete the first stage in the next few days.
(With agency inputs)