Islam News – The U.K. began its vaccination program, launching an unprecedented global immunization effort aims to offer a route out of a health crisis that has killed 1.5 million globally. While the U.S. and Europe race to approve and inject Western-made vaccines, other governments around the world are looking to vaccines from China and Russia – AP News stated.
Several countries are preparing for mass vaccine shots in the next few days or weeks.
Mexico plans to begin coronavirus vaccinations the third week of December, starting with health workers. The vaccines will be “universal and free” — and also voluntary, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says. The government already has contracted for 34.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 250,000 of those are expected to arrive by Dec. 17.
India plans to immunize an initial 300 million people. India plans to rely on its existing immunization programs, which are among the largest in the world, for the COVID-19 vaccines. But there are challenges. Even before the pandemic, vaccine coverage for India’s children was patchy.
Morocco is rolling out an ambitious vaccination plan, aiming to vaccinate 80% of its adults starting this month. The country is battling a resurgence in virus infections and will start with 10 million doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine. The first injections could come within days. Medical experts are going on TV to encourage skeptical Moroccans to get immunized.
The United Arab Emirates says a Chinese coronavirus vaccine tested in the federation of sheikhdoms is 86% effective, although it released few details. Sinopharm’s shot relies on a tested technology, using a killed virus to deliver the vaccine, similar to polio immunizations.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says U.S. sanctions are making it difficult for Iran to purchase medicine and health supplies from abroad, including COVID-19 vaccines needed to contain the worst outbreak in the Middle East.
In the meantime, new results on a possible COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca suggest it is safe and about 70% effective.
But questions remain about how well it may help protect those over 55 — a key concern for a vaccine that health officials hope to rely on around the world because of its low cost, availability and ease of use, Marilynn Marchione reports.
AstraZeneca has also signed licensing deals for the vaccine to be produced in Brazil, South Africa and China.
COVAX, the global initiative led by the World Health Organization and vaccines alliance Gavi aimed at distributing COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries, has signed an agreement to obtain about 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.