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Covid: China’s Sinovac vaccine gets WHO emergency approval

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved China’s Sinovac Covid vaccine for emergency use.

The WHO said it prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe symptoms and hospitalisation in 100% of samples.

Some evidence and data gaps are still lacking though, according to WHO experts.

It is the second Chinese vaccine to receive the green light from the WHO, after Sinopharm.

The approval opens the door for the jab to be used in the Covax programme, which aims to ensure fair access to vaccines.

The vaccine, which has already been used in several countries, has been recommended for over 18s, with a second dose two to four weeks later.

The emergency approval means the vaccine “meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing”, the WHO said.

A study in a Brazilian city saw a 95% drop in Covid deaths after it vaccinated almost all of its adults with Sinovac.

Serrana, in the Southeastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, is home to 45,000 residents. Once 75% of its population was vaccinated, the number of cases and hospitalisations fell, according to the study.

Brazil has the second deadliest outbreak of Covid infections in the world.

It is hoped that the decision to list the Chinese vaccine for emergency use will give a boost to the Covax initiative, which has been struggling with supply problems.

“The world desperately needs multiple Covid-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” said Mariangela Simao, the WHO’s assistant director general for access to health products.

“We urge manufacturers to participate in the Covax facility, share their know-how and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control,” she said.

China says it has already produced 10 million doses of Covid vaccines for the Covax scheme and that it aims to hit 3 billion doses by the end of the year.

As well as China, the vaccine is already being administered in countries including Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.

One of Sinovac’s main advantages is that it can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2-8 degrees Celsius.

This means Sinovac is a lot more useful to developing countries which might not be able to store large amounts of vaccine at low temperatures.

The emergency approval came as the heads of the WHO, the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank appealed for a $50bn (£35bn) investment fund to help end the pandemic.

In a joint statement they said the world had reached a perilous point, and that inequalities in access to vaccines risked prolonging the pandemic, and many more deaths.

They have called for the money to be invested in areas including vaccine production, oxygen supplies, and Covid-19 treatments, ensuring they are distributed fairly.

They also called on wealthy countries to donate vaccine doses immediately to developing nations.

BBC

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Nigeria to receive another supply of 3.92M doses of Vaccine – FG

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Reporter: Deborah Musa

The federal government disclosed that Nigeria is looking forward to receiving 3.92 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of July or early August 
Recent research from Public Health England (PHE) shows that the Indian (Delta) variant B.1.617.2 is 92% susceptible to Oxford/Astrazeneca. It is therefore comforting to know that the vaccine used in Nigeria can protect against this variant that caused high morbidity and mortality in India. However, it underscores the need for us to ramp up our vaccination to more Nigerians.
The Executive director and C.E.O National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr Faisal Shuaib made this known in a press conference held to update Nigerians on the status of covid-19 vaccination, on Tuesday in Abuja
The NPHCDA boss also revealed that the topic of global inequities in vaccine supply was a significant focus in the G7 summit meeting which was held during the weekend, 

“We now have information that Nigeria will get 3.92m doses of Oxford/Astrazeneca by end of July or early August. As we receive additional information on the exact dates in August, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details of this
“While we are working with our international partners to confirm the next shipment of vaccines to Nigeria, I wish to speak about the G7 summit that occurred over the weekend. The topic of global inequities in the vaccine supply was a significant focus of the G7 meeting. 
“Rightfully so, Leaders of major, rich countries are becoming increasingly aligned with the thinking that the inequities cannot continue – not only because it is a moral failure but because it is strategically unwise for their own efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic
“On the final day of the summit, leaders committed to delivering at least 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to the world over the next year. While this will not close the enormous gap that exists today, it is a positive step and we welcome the new focus”
Shuaib also made the disclosure that the U.S president, Joe Biden had pledged on the eve of the summit that the U.S will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer-biontech vaccine and donate to low income and middle income countries through the next year
Also, the MasterCard Foundation had pledged to donate $1.3 billion for vaccines in Africa over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Shuaib said
“Additionally, President Biden announced on the eve of the summit that the US will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer-bioNTech vaccine and donate them to low- and middle-income countries through the next year. This pledge is by far the largest yet by one country. These doses will be distributed via Covax
“In other positive news, the Mastercard Foundation has pledged to donate $1.3 billion for vaccines in Africa over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
“This is one of the largest corporate donations of the pandemic, globally. The goals of this cooperation are to strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity, support local vaccine manufacturing, procure vaccines for at least 50 million people, and help deliver shots to millions more. We applaud Mastercard’s decision, and hope it will serve as an impetus for other corporations to follow with similar efforts”
Shuaib also stated that 1,978,808 persons have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 680,345 persons have gotten their second dose of the vaccine 
He further called on Nigerians who have received their first dose to check their vaccination cards for the date of their first dose and ensure that they receive the second dose between 6 – 12 weeks after their 1st dose to gain full protection against COVID-19 on or before 25th June when the window for the administration of the second dose will be closed
The NPHCDA Executive director said town hall meetings had been held in the North Central and Northeast zones across the country. 
While efforts to ensure supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria are ongoing, the Presidential Steering Committee this week will have a planned South-South Zonal Town Hall Meeting with stakeholders and the larger communities on COVID-19 vaccination in Benin, Edo State.  He stated that they are fully committed to going to communities to discuss directly about vaccine effort, the importance of staying safe and protected against COVID-19 and answering questions from people

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Covid: Twitter suspends Naomi Wolf after tweeting anti-vaccine misinformation

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American author Naomi Wolf has been suspended from Twitter after spreading vaccine misinformation.

Dr Wolf, well known for her acclaimed third-wave feminist book The Beauty Myth, posted a wide-range of unfounded theories about vaccines.

One tweet claimed that vaccines were a “software platform that can receive uploads”.

She also compared Dr Anthony Fauci, the top Covid adviser in the US, to Satan to her more than 140,000 followers.

Most recently, she tweeted that the urine and faeces of people who had received the jab needed to be separated from general sewage supplies while tests were done to measure its impact on non-vaccinated people through drinking water.

Dr Wolf was also duped into tweeting a made up quote on an image of an American adult film star dressed up as a doctor.

Her suspension has been welcomed by many on the platform.

Professor Gavin Yamey tweeted that he was pleased, adding that “Dr Wolf peddles horrific, dangerous anti-vaxx nonsense”.

But some have voiced concern that her suspension was stifling free speech.

In 2019, the US publisher of a book by Dr Wolf cancelled its release after accuracy concerns were raised.

During a BBC radio interview, it came to light that the author had misunderstood key 19th Century English legal terms within the book.

BBC

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UK Regulator Approves Pfizer Jab For 12 To 15-year-olds

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Britain’s medicines regulator said Friday the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe for adolescents aged 12 to 15 after a “rigorous review”, following similar assessments in the European Union and United States.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the two-shot jab following clinical trials among younger age groups, saying the vaccine had met the “expected standards” of safety, quality and effectiveness.

A government committee on vaccination will now decide if and when to begin administering doses to the age bracket. So far it has promptly followed all MHRA rulings on vaccines offered by Pfizer and other companies.
The statement read:”We have carefully reviewed clinical trial data in children aged 12 to 15 years and have concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk,” MHRA chief executive June Raine said.

“No extension to an authorisation would be approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.”

Raine added the UK’s surveillance regime for monitoring the safety of all approved Covid-19 vaccines would now include those aged 12 to 15 receiving doses.

The British regulator’s approval follows that of the European Medicines Agency and US Food and Drug Administration last month for the younger cohort to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

The United States has started administering the vaccine to adolescents, while EU members are set to do so this month.

Britain was the first Western country to start a mass immunisation drive, in December. The government said Thursday that over half of adults had now received both doses of inoculation, mainly the Pfizer or AstraZeneca.

AFP

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