Covid-19: UK begins immunisation drive of second vaccine, Mexico okays Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate
A global battle against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is currently underway as vaccination drives have begun in several countries. While India is expected to shortly begin what will be the world’s largest immunisation drive, having cleared its first two vaccines on Sunday, the United Kingdom on Monday started giving shots of a second Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Last month, the UK also became the first country to begin a vaccination drive, administering shots of the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE vaccine.
With the global Covid-19 caseload at more than 85 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, here are some latest updates on the vaccination front:
1. Brian Pinker, 82-year-old dialysis patient, became the first British citizen, as well as the first in the world, to receive a shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The immunisation drive began with 530,000 doses of the vaccine on a day that ended with prime minister Boris Johnson announcing another national lockdown due to begin early Wednesday.
2. Mexico has approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, its government announced on Monday, joining the UK, Argentina and India in giving a nod to the shot. The announcement was made by deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell on Twitter. Mexico is already administering shots of the Pfizer vaccine to its health workers.
3. Moderna Inc, the American drugmaker, on Monday said Israel had approved its vaccine against Covid-19. “Israel’s ministry of health has secured 6 million doses and first deliveries are expected to begin in January,” the company said in a statement. This makes Israel the third country overall, after the US and Canada, the first outside North America and the first in Asia to authorise Moderna’s vaccine.
4. Spain, which is using Pfizer’s vaccine, has administered 83,000 doses since December 27, health minister Salvador Illa said on Monday. Illa also said that Spain expects to vaccinate around 4.5 million people, of the country’s 47 million population, by the end of March. This, Illa said, depends on Spain receiving nearly 350,000 doses per week during the next few two months.
(With agency inputs)
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- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, a Nigerian economist and former government minister, donned a mask as she made brief comments to reporters on way into the imposing building on the shores of Lake Geneva on Monday.