One of the world’s largest vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 begins Saturday in India, which plans to immunize 300 million people by July, as delivery delays threaten to slow operations in Europe, region most affected by the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for vaccination to start in all countries “in the next hundred days” to deal with the pandemic which has claimed more than two million lives worldwide.
“I want to see the vaccination start in all countries in the next 100 days,” said agency director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday, campaigns have so far started almost exclusively in rich countries.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, also regretted the “failure of solidarity”, noting that “if high-income countries have access to vaccines, this is not the case for the most poor”.
In India, the second most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion people, the 30 million healthcare workers and those most exposed to the disease will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by around 270 million people over 50. years of age or very vulnerable to the coronavirus.
– Delivery delays for Pfizer –
In the United States, Joe Biden unveiled the program he intends to implement at the White House to accelerate the immunization of Americans, with the creation of thousands of local vaccination centers, enhanced cooperation between the federal government and states and more prevention campaigns.
His project is ambitious: the elected president wants 100 million doses to be injected during his first 100 days in office.
The American laboratory Pfizer announced Friday that its deliveries of vaccines outside the United States will slow down in late January-early February, time to make changes in the production process.
These delays have been announced to the countries of the European Union, raising serious concerns as the appearance of variants of the coronavirus raises fears of a resurgence of the pandemic.
France will have to “adjust the pace of vaccinations” against the coronavirus because of the “sharp drop” expected in deliveries of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks, a source within the executive said.
– Saturated hospitals and new restrictions –
According to the WHO, the number of countries and territories where the variant identified initially in Great Britain is found is 50 and it is 20 for the variant identified in South Africa. But the organization, which has called for a global expansion of genomic sequencing and data sharing, deems the assessment likely to be underestimated.
Another mutation, originating in the Brazilian Amazon and whose discovery Japan announced on Sunday, could impact the immune response, judges the WHO, which evokes “a worrying variant”.
In the Brazilian state of Amazonas, the situation is catastrophic: in Manaus, the regional capital, intensive care units have been 100% full for two weeks, oxygen, gloves and other protective equipment are lacking.
Brazil, which has recorded more than 208,000 deaths since the start of the epidemic, has still not started vaccinating. And President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Friday a new postponement, “of one or two days”, of the plane to deliver two million doses of vaccines from India.
Like Brazil, many countries are seeing their health systems overwhelmed by an acceleration in the spread of the virus following the holidays and end-of-year holidays, and are stepping up restriction measures.
In Colombia, more than half of the 50 million inhabitants are again confined this weekend or subject to curfew while hospitals in main cities are close to overloading.
In Lebanon, which recorded a new death record on Friday and where the authorities have imposed strict confinement, several hospitals are saturated. A hospital outside Beirut, which currently hosts the Minister of Health, also contaminated, had to set up its dining hall to accommodate patients.
In Europe too, restrictive measures are being stepped up in several countries.
Portugal began a new general confinement of at least one month on Friday, and Italy will reconfine from Monday three regions deemed to be at high risk, Lombardy (north), Sicily (south) and Alto Adige ( North).
France will, for its part, extend a curfew to its entire territory on Saturday from 6 p.m. (5 p.m. GMT) and will require travelers coming from a country outside the European Union to test negative.
In addition to a negative test, also required on entry into Ireland, the United Kingdom will impose from Monday a ten-day quarantine on all travelers arriving from abroad.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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