More than 200 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in at least 107 countries or territories, according to the latest report from Agence France-Presse (AFP), Saturday, February 20. This figure is underestimated, however, as two large countries, China and Russia, have not released new data for ten days. Some 45% of known injections were given in G7 countries, which are home to only 10% of the world’s population. Israel is by far the most advanced country, with almost half (49%) of its population having received at least one injection.
The seven members of the G7 (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan) made commitments on Friday in favor of a better distribution of doses with poor countries. They announced more than doubling their collective support for the anti-Covid-19 vaccination, to 7.5 billion dollars, notably through the UN Covax program, led by the World Health Organization (WHO). New Zealand launched its Covid-19 vaccination program on Saturday, February 20, warning that this was only a small step in the long fight against the pandemic. “This is the start of what you might call a new chapter, but we still have a long way to go,” said Ashley Bloomfield, the country’s chief health officer.
The vaccination campaign starts with immigration officials, with staff working in quarantine centers and air transport, as well as with people living with them. Pfizer-BioNtech’s vaccine was the first to be approved by New Zealand health authorities. The vaccination program, which will gradually be extended to the rest of the population, begins just days after authorities lifted a three-day lockdown in Auckland. Despite the vaccination campaign, the New Zealand government has said it is unlikely that foreign tourists will be allowed to return this year.
Russia registers the third vaccine. Russia has registered its third vaccine against Covid-19, Prime Minister Mikhail Michoustine announced on Saturday. The registration of the vaccine, dubbed “Kovivak”, means it must now pass phase III trials, scheduled for March on 3,000 people, according to the Russian research ministry. By the middle of March, the first 120,000 doses [of the third vaccine] will be released. Russia is now the only country where three vaccines already exist, ”said Michoustine, during a government meeting broadcast on television.
This third vaccine was developed by the Chumakov Research Center in Moscow. Russia has already registered the vaccine Sputnik V, in August, and EpiVacCorona, licensed in October. Unlike the other two products, Kovivak uses an inactivated virus, a more traditional technology. The ministry says it is, for now, only recommended for people between the ages of 18 and 60. The first vaccine, whose early announcement has raised doubts in the scientific community, recently received recognition for its effectiveness in a study published by the medical journal The Lancet, validated by independent experts. It is now authorized in more than 20 countries.
Sputnik V, the vaccine which is the pride of the Russians and which Europe is worry of
Romania vaccinates the homeless Nearly 300 homeless people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Romania, officials of the vaccination campaign said on Saturday. Romania thus becomes one of the first countries in Europe to tackle the immunization of this category of vulnerable people. “These people are among the most exposed to the risk of contamination. For most of them, respecting barrier gestures is difficult, “Secretary of State for Health Andrei Baciu told Press.
Seized by several associations, the government decided to put the homeless on the list of priority people, as Denmark has decided. They are now included in the same category as people over 65, chronically ill and teachers, and just behind healthcare professionals. Of the 1,341 homeless people identified so far across the country (for an actual number estimated at several thousand), 282 have received the first dose and 246 have received both doses. Due to a lack of access to credible sources of information, many people living in the street are however suspicious, explains Marian Ursan, president of the Carousel association, which distributes food, clothing, blankets, and medicines to some 300 homeless people in Bucharest.