Britain to roll out AstraZeneca vaccines as virus vaccinations ramp up

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#London (AFP)

#Britain was set to begin mass rollout of the #Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on #Monday, the cheap and easy-to-distribute vaccine that experts hope will help crush the pandemic as #China rushes to inoculate millions of people with a local prophylactic.

The vaccine, developed by #AstraZeneca and the #University of #Oxford, is considered a game changer by many experts because it does not require very cold temperatures for storage like those of #Pfizer-BioNTech and #Moderna.

#This could mean better access to the vaccine for poorer regions of the world in the fight against the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 85 million people with more than 1.8 million known deaths.

#Britain was set to start the new campaign with 530,000 doses of the #AstraZeneca vaccine, as it struggled to control a severe wave of infections that threatened to overwhelm the public health system and prompted the government to warn that more severe restrictions are to be expected.

“We can see the way forward in terms of the way forward, we can see how we can get out of it. #But we have a difficult time ahead, ”#Prime #Minister #Boris #Johnson said on #Sunday.

#Britain has already vaccinated around a million people after approving the #Pfizer vaccine in early #December and hopes to give vaccines to tens of millions of people over the next three months, #Johnson said in an interview with the BBC.

#Vaccinations were also underway in #Europe, as thousands lined up in #Beijing to be shot as #Chinese authorities rushed to vaccinate millions ahead of the #Lunar #New #Year mass travel season. in #February.

#Beijing has already administered around 4.5 million doses of the largely unproven emergency vaccine this year – mostly to health workers and other state employees destined for overseas jobs, according to authorities.

– #Deployment of the #American vaccine which stumbles –

#Elsewhere, US officials on #Sunday rejected claims by outgoing #President #Donald #Trump that the country’s death toll of more than 350,000 was exaggerated, as they defended the stumbling rollout of vaccines in the world’s worst-hit country.

The #United #States has a known workload of more than 20 million people, and the #Trump administration has faced stiff criticism for its handling of the pandemic, which has hammered the US economy.

#He has started giving people the #Pfizer and #Moderna vaccines, but the 4.2 million people vaccinated so far are well below the official forecast of 20 million by the new year.

#More than 13 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed across the country, but efforts to immunize health workers and vulnerable people have been hampered by logistical challenges and overcrowded hospitals and clinics.

“There have been some problems, understandably,” said leading US expert #Anthony #Fauci, adding that it was a challenge “to try and launch a massive immunization program and get off to a good start.”

#Disturbing reports have noted the poor organization of vaccines, the lack of health professionals to administer them or, in one isolated case, sabotage.

#Moncef #Slaoui, chief advisor to the U.S. government’s military-led immunization effort, said another alternative was being explored for the #Moderna vaccine: administering half-doses twice.

“#We know it induces an identical immune response,” #Slaoui said, adding that officials were in discussions with #Moderna and the #Food and #Drug #Administration (FDA) about the proposal.

– #Indian approvals –

#India, which has the second highest number of known cases in the world, approved the emergency use of two #Covid-19 vaccines on #Sunday, paving the way for one of the world’s largest vaccination campaigns.

The #South #Asian giant has set an ambitious goal of inoculating 300 million of its 1.3 billion people by mid-2021, and has given the green light to the #AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the one developed by the local pharmaceutical company #Bharat #Biotech.

#But #Indian authorities, like many around the world, must overcome public skepticism about the vaccine, often promoted by social media campaigns and conspiracy theories that offer no credible evidence.

A recent survey of 18,000 people across #India found that 69% were in no rush to get the vaccine.

#Israel, however, claimed the fastest vaccination start to date, saying on #Sunday that two million people – about a fifth of its population – would have received the two required vaccines by the end of #January.

burs-qan / oho

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