Tag: Pfizer vaccine

What Has Kept Netherlands From Corona Vaccine Inoculation Drive?
Europe

What Has Kept Netherlands From Corona Vaccine Inoculation Drive?

Corona Vaccine Inoculation Drive: Netherlands’ healthcare system is so gripped in bureaucracy that it is finding it difficult to justify the eminent delay in the provision of vaccinations to the Dutch.  The country has started to receive a trickle of the vaccine that was already being used in the UK for inoculations. 

An emergency debate in the parliament recently saw the opposition blaming the government for the eminent delays. This comes as a surprise because the country is well known for excellent health care budgets and a healthy life-work index. Apparently, the health care facilities in Netherlands have not been able to manage the surging number of cases of corona virus infected patients. 

The Dutch Health Minister, Hugo De Jonge has justified the delays, as Dutch choice to ‘go slow and pay it safe’ than act hastily as the UK did by cutting corners and wishing for a quick solution.  The EU Commission took rather long to zero on the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccination. 

This week, Mr. Jonge changed his stance and accepted that ‘over-agility’ could cost Dutch lives after all. Dutch was banking on the Astra Zeneca Oxford led vaccine whose efficacy rate varies between 60-90percent. It can be stored in normal refrigeration. Netherlands had not made any arrangements to accommodate the next better vaccine candidate, Pfizer or Moderna for that matter. The latter had arrived in end of December. 

Infrastructural and then IT system glitches is what has delayed the Netherlands to start a country wide inoculation drive. They now plan to start theirs from January 18, 2021. 

Netherlands was one of the few nations to have used rather relaxed lockdown norms. Their mask mandatory ruling has only been put into effect in December. The country is now fighting record high number of contraction rates. The first to be inoculated will be health care workers. The Dutch health ministry has confirmed that an initial 30,000 vaccines will be made available for a select group of healthcare workers.

The eminent delay has been attributed to primitive IT systems that are now being upgraded. Also, the ministry has confirmed that they are spending energy in training call-centre staff on the scripts to use with people booking their vaccinations. 

Covid-19 vaccine, between geopolitics and science
Geopolitics

Covid-19 vaccine, between geopolitics and science

Geopolitics and Science: The disastrous 2020 is about to end. Among the wishes for the new year, also the anticipation for the vaccine to be received for all. December 8, 2020, will be remembered as the day 90-year-old Margaret Keenan was the first person in England to receive an mRNA vaccine outside of a clinical trial. But the historical moment we are about to live in is full of dark questions that have little to do with science. So, what story should we prepare to tell the new-born from next year? The story of the Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled issues never dormant in human history.

While the now ex-US President Donald Trump was trying to grab European companies at the forefront in the field of vaccines, other nations proceeded to vaccinate essential people in this war on the virus, like hospital staff, police, public transport drivers at home. We remember that Europe has always been and still is at the forefront in this sector worldwide. According to several reports, China had already started in spring 2019 with its self-sufficient vaccines. Also, Russia has already begun using its Sputnik V for some time and is now proceeding with mass vaccination. In the West, things follow different paths. There are precise rules agreed internationally in Europe and the USA that observe this way.

The European Commission still underlines that vaccines are the best opportunity we have to end the Covid-19 pandemic and officially proclaims that it is working to ensure that vaccines are safe, effective, and available for all following a rigorous procedure that includes: validation tests in the laboratory, studies in large clinical trials, evaluation by the European Medicines Agency, and authorization by the European Commission for the whole of Europe after consultation with all member countries. But even in democratic Europe, nationalism influences voters. So, Boris Johnson asked the British regulatory authorities to approve the Pfizer & BioNtech vaccine. Mass vaccination started from the first in the Western world. We read that Boris’s political situation a few days after Brexit is not the best. Therefore, one can imagine why he did it, as well as perhaps the risk of having to pay duties if everything had happened after the breakup.

Phase 3 studies must take place where the infection affects many people. For example, in China, the cases are practically eliminated except in people who come from other countries, so a study that follows the rules of a correct clinical trial it is not technically possible. Consequently, the vaccines are going tested in other nations where the virus is doing more victims like Brazil. In the United States, which has the largest number of cases in the world, Chinese vaccines are not tested, of course. But China, in its great power, has started collaborations with many other countries, poor and rich, like the United Arab Emirates to penetrate those markets, using the vaccine as a Trojan horse. The same for Russia with Turkey and perhaps in the future also with Hungary, feeling part of the European Union and a little not.

It is important to note that the largest vaccine experiment in history is starting. Thanks to modern technologies, it will be possible to evaluate and ascertain the safety of vaccines in an extremely superior way compared to when the two vaccines for polio were introduced in the 1950s. A few weeks ago, the World Health Organization declared Africa polio-free. This infection could be declared eradicated if pockets do not persist where there is fighting, where there are religious exploitation and where those who go to vaccinate children risk their lives. The combination of interests to keep the arms market profitable and religious fanaticism play on the ignorance of poor people and leave us insecure that we are not all defended. Then the bill is paid by the most vulnerable patients or the immunosuppressed.

Canada joins UK & becomes latest country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
Americas

Canada joins UK & becomes latest country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

Canada joins UK: Health Canada, Canada’s health regulatory body has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, becoming third country after UK and Bahrain to do so. The body has called vaccine authorization as a “milestone” in North American country’s fight against the global coronavirus crisis. 

The vaccine was approved by agency after it was found to have met the regulatory body’s “stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements”. This has cleared the vaccine doses to be delivered by Pfizer and administered across the country.

Following the approval, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada will receive at least 249,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine by the end of this month. It is to be noted that Canada has purchased 20 million doses of the vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech. This will inoculate 10 million people as vaccine requires two jabs to be administered per person at an interval of 21 days. Canada also has an option to buy an additional 56 million doses under the agreement with pharma giant. 

UK, after approving the vaccine last week for emergency use, started its vaccination drive this Tuesday. A 90 year old UK grandmother became the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

United States too has confirmed the vaccine to have 95% efficacy, clearing its path for authorization by FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The regulators are set to meet on Thursday to formally review the vaccine’s use in US. 

In Canada 14 distribution sites have been equipped with all the necessary cold storage requirements for the vaccine which requires -70C temperature for storage. The priority groups to receive vaccine include healthcare workers, and at high risk groups like elderly. Canada has also authorized vaccine to be administered to people over 16 years of age. 

The Pfizer vaccine is required to be given in two doses. Day 12 onwards from the first jab, immunity starts to build up in body. The second dose is to be given on day 21, and full immunity is reached on day 28. 

UK has issued jab warning regarding delaying vaccinating people with history of allergies (to medicine, food or vaccines) after two NHS staff workers developed serious anaphylactic reactions after getting vaccinated. These staff members had history of allergies.  

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director says that these reactions are “common with new vaccine”. Issuing a warning is just a precautionary measure. 

Health Canada officials too have advised people with allergy history to delay getting vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine. Plan is to monitor developments in UK and then chalk out modus operandi regarding this. 

Canada also has contracts with other vaccine manufacturers. Trudeau says that all Canadians will be vaccinated by September 2021. A network of organizations, called The People’s Vaccine Alliance, claims that Canada has ordered enough vaccines to give each Canadian vaccine at least 5 times, provided all vaccines receive authorization for use. The alliance includes Amnesty International, Oxfam and Global Justice Now.

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