As G20 leaders pledged to ensure the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests so that the poorest countries are not left out, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany have each announced their intention to start vaccinations in their countries in December, while Spain said it would. start administering the vaccine to its citizens in January.
Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine as early as this week, even before the United States allows it, the British newspaper Telegraph reported on Sunday. Pfizer and BioNTech could get emergency clearance in the United States and Europe for their Covid-19 vaccine next month after the results of the final trial showed a 95% success rate and no serious side effects.
Moderna last week released preliminary data for its vaccine showing 94.5% efficacy.
The better-than-expected results of the two vaccines, both developed with new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, have raised hopes of appeasing a pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people .
In the United States, the head of the U.S. immunization program, Moncef Slaoui, said the first Americans to receive a vaccine could get it as early as December 11, CNN reported on Sunday.
“Our plan is to be able to ship the vaccines to the vaccination sites within 24 hours of approval, so maybe I wait until the second day after approval on December 11 or 12,” he said. in an interview with CNN.
Citing government sources, The Telegraph also said the UK National Health Service was asked to be ready to administer it by December 1.
Britain officially asked its medical regulator, the MHRA, last week to assess the suitability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The UK Department of Health made no comment on Sunday on when the first vaccinations would be given.
Britain has ordered 40 million doses and expects to have 10 million doses, enough to protect 5 million people, available by the end of the year if regulators approve.
Germany could also start administering Covid-19 vaccines as early as next month, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday. He said Spain and Germany were the first countries in the European Union to have a comprehensive vaccination plan in place.
“There is reason to be optimistic about the approval of a vaccine in Europe this year,” Spahn said in an interview with the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland publishing group. “And then we can start right away.”
Spahn said he had asked German federal states to prepare their vaccination centers by mid-December and that it was going well. “I would rather have a vaccination center ready a few days in advance rather than an approved vaccine that is not used immediately.”
Germany has secured more than 300 million doses of the vaccine through the European Commission, bilateral contracts and options, Spahn said, adding that was more than enough and even left room to share doses with many. other countries.
Spain will start a full vaccination program in January and hopes to have covered a substantial part of the population within three months, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday.
“The campaign will start in January and will feature 13,000 vaccination points,” Sanchez said at a press conference after a two-day online summit of G20 leaders. “A very large part of the population can be vaccinated, with all guarantees, in the first quarter of the year.”
Meanwhile, nearly 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be shipped and airlifted to developing countries next year in a “gigantic operation,” the United Nations agency said on Monday. for Unicef Children, as world leaders pledge to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines.
Unicef said it was working with more than 350 airlines and freight companies to deliver vaccines and a billion syringes to poor countries such as Burundi, Afghanistan and Yemen as part of Covax, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan with the World Health Organization (WHO).
“This valuable collaboration will go a long way to guaranteeing sufficient transport capacity for this historic and gigantic operation,” Etleva Kadilli, director of the supply division of Unicef, said in a statement.
Covax – co-led by the Gavi vaccination group, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations – aims to discourage governments from stockpiling Covid-19 vaccines and to focus first on vaccinating those most at risk in each country .
Unicef’s role with Covax stems from its status as the world’s largest purchaser of vaccines. He said he was purchasing more than 2 billion doses of vaccine per year for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries.