The success of vaccination may be Europe’s hope, but the mass administration of vaccines in many countries is still hampered by low shipments.
The daily summary of the deaths from the coronavirus epidemic in Britain, published on Wednesday, includes more than 1,500 deaths. Of the countries in the world, only the United States, Brazil, India, and Mexico have more deaths from the coronavirus epidemic. At the same time, the number of newly screened coronavirus infections has again dropped significantly compared to last week’s data.
According to a report by the UK Department of Health on Wednesday night, 47,525 new infections have been identified through screening across the country in the past 24 hours. Last week, more than 60,000 new infections, sometimes close to 70,000 a day, were screened almost every day in Britain.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a commission hearing in the London House of Commons on Wednesday that the first signs of the effects of restrictions aimed at curbing the epidemic are already emerging.
Of the countries in the world, only the United States, Brazil, India, and Mexico have more deaths from the coronavirus epidemic.
The official goal of the British government is to have at least the first dose of coronavirus vaccination available to all members of the most vulnerable populations by 15 February. In the UK, with a population of 68 million, 16 million will receive the vaccine by the middle of next month.
In Italy, the number of deaths has exceeded 80,000 since the outbreak began. In the first wave, between February and June last year, 33,000 died, and since then nearly another fifty thousand. In the last one day, 507 patients lost their lives after more than six hundred on Tuesday.
The province of Lombardy, which is a focal point for the coronavirus epidemic, could be closed again, but museums in low-risk regions could reopen, according to health minister Roberto Speranza’s parliamentary announcement on Wednesday. From Saturday, in addition to the red, orange and yellow regions used since November, white zones will also be introduced, where restrictions, including the curfew, will be lifted, with only the mask mask remaining in place. In the latter areas, the reproduction rate of the virus must be below a certain value so that the incidence of infection per 100 000 inhabitants does not exceed fifty. At present, no region of Italy fulfills these conditions.
The Italian emergency, which has been continuously extended from 28 January last year, has been in force for the time being until the end of April. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 800,000 vaccines have been given since the last days of December. More than fifty percent of the 1.4 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and nearly fifty thousand-dose Moderna shipments that have arrived in the country so far have been used.
According to Michal Dworczyk, head of the Polish Prime Minister’s Office, about half of the older people in the priority group are planned to be vaccinated against Covid-19 disease caused by the coronavirus by the end of March, and the available vaccines allow one million vaccinations a month. According to Dworczyk, logistically, the government is prepared to inject 3.7 million vaccinations per month, but capacity utilization is limited by the schedule of shipments to one million vaccinations per month. Referring to statements from vaccine manufacturers, the official expressed hope that the vaccination campaign could accelerate in the second quarter.
Nearly 338,000 people were vaccinated in Poland by Wednesday afternoon, making the country the fourth largest in Europe in terms of the number of vaccinations performed. Fifty vaccinees experienced an undesirable reaction.
In Poland, which has a population of almost 38 million, the daily increase in coronavirus infections has been below 10,000 since last Friday, with 9053 new cases recorded on Wednesday. 117 people died in one day specifically due to Covid-19, and 364 died due to the coexistence of Covid-19 and other diseases. So far, few coronavirus vaccines have been received in Croatia, so no mass vaccines are being developed yet. Krunoslav Capak, director of the Institute of Public Health, said on Wednesday:
To date, more than 30,000 people have been vaccinated: in 15,847 cases, residents of nursing homes, as well as 16,425 health care workers with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. On Tuesday, 3,600 doses of vaccine from the Moderna pharmaceutical factory arrived, 2,000 of which are being transported to earthquake-stricken municipalities in central Croatia, where more than 3,000 people have already been vaccinated.
In the last 24 hours, 1135 new infected people in Croatia have been identified, bringing the number of infected people to 222,117 since the outbreak began. On Tuesday, 26 patients died from the complications of the infection, bringing the death toll to 4,472. The hospital cares for 1993 patients, 193 of whom are on a ventilator. The number of active patients is 5,300. According to data released by the Cabinet in Slovenia, the number of registered infections increased to 143,700 on Tuesday, 2092. Another 17 patients died, bringing the death toll to 3,070.
According to the Slovenian government, 2.27 million doses of the vaccine will be received by the end of the year, enough to vaccinate 1.13 million people in the two million country.
Meanwhile, the Turkish pharmacovigilance authority on Wednesday approved the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine (CoronaVac) from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, the Turkish state news agency Anadolu said. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said he would start vaccinating health workers across the country from Thursday. Tests on the vaccine have been completed, and the vaccine is said by the government to be safe enough.
The head of the ministry then vaccinated himself on a live television broadcast at one of Ankara’s hospitals. The Turkish leadership has ordered 50 million doses of Chinese vaccine based on attenuated viruses, the first three million doses of which arrived in the country of 83 million at the end of December.
In December, the Turkish authorities found an efficacy rate of 91.25 per cent from a partial study, while in Indonesia the vaccine was found to be 65.3 per cent effective. The competent Brazilian health institution on Tuesday reported that the vaccine was only 50.38 percent effective. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers emergency approval of a vaccine that achieves at least 50 percent efficacy acceptable.
EU: There is no individualisation in vaccine procurement
EU member states have pledged not to launch their own procedures to procure coronavirus vaccines, said Stella Kiriakidis, commissioner for health and food safety, following an informal video conference of EU health ministers on Wednesday. He recalled that in June 2020, all twenty-seven Member States had authorized the European Commission to negotiate pre-orders for vaccinations on their behalf.
The European Commission has so far identified AstraZeneca (400 million doses), Sanofi-GSK (300 million doses), Johnson and Johnson (400 million doses), BioNTech-Pfizer (600 million doses), CureVac (405 million doses) and Moderna (160 million doses) signed vaccine supply contracts. It also closed discussions with pharmaceutical companies Novavax (100 million doses) and Valneva (30 million doses) on the procurement of their possible coronavirus vaccine. Europe has access to up to 2.5 billion doses of effective and safe vaccines.
Stella Kiriakidis emphasized that she understood the pressure at national level and the concerns of citizens, but that individual agreements undermined the common European approach to vaccine supply, which had so far been successful. “What saved lives is not the vaccine, but the vaccine,” he added. According to the EU commissioner, the US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson is expected to submit an application for approval for the EU use of its self-developed vaccine to the European Medicines Agency in February.
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