Vaccine for COVID-19

COVID-19 News

Step up the pace globally if universal vaccination could lead us out of the pandemic

The Covid pandemic has hard drilled the lesson why the health and social security of each one of us is inter-dependent on the health and social security of one another. But do we see more equity (or inequity) in the Covid response, such as the rollout of the vaccination worldwide? Inequitable distribution of vaccine, diagnostics, oxygen, personnel protective equipment, and other necessary essential tools have been plaguing the Covid response due to which we are unable to fully break the chain of infection transmission by prevention measures, and reduce the severity of the disease for those who get infected. What is the global population? The global population is around 7.8 billion people. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that globally 5.5 billion doses of Covid vaccines have been administered but 80% of these vaccinations have happened in rich nations. Rich nations promised to donate 1 billion doses but less than 15% of this promise has been kept so far. The WHO is mobilizing all countries worldwide to vaccinate 10% of the population fully by September 2021, and 40% by December 2021, and 70% by June 2022. 90% of rich nations have already reached the target of fully vaccinating at least 10% of their population, and 70% of rich nations have already reached the 40% target. But not a single low-income country has reached either of the targets so far, alarmed Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. That is why Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is appealing to all the governments not to give booster the third dose of Covid vaccines till the end of this year so that everyone worldwide can get a chance of being fully vaccinated. If we are to find our way out of the pandemic, then universal vaccination is an essential cog in the wheel towards this journey – but the window is fast closing! India has already achieved two times more than the WHO September end target India which began Covid vaccination on 16 January 2021, reported over 20% full vaccination of eligible population by mid-September 2021. Noted infectious diseases expert Dr Ishwar Gilada,…

COVID-19 News

New consortium working to boost vaccine production in South Africa

MPP, WHO, AFRIGEN, BIOVAC, SAMRC, and Africa CDC sign a letter of intent towards establishing the tech transfer hub in South Africa Geneva 30 July 2021: The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and the World Health Organization (WHO),  Afrigen Biologics (PTY) Limited, the Biologicals and Vaccines Institute of Southern Africa  (Biovac), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have signed a letter of intent to address the global imbalance of manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines. This letter of intent brings together partners to establish the South African mRNA technology transfer hub that will allow for greater and more diversified vaccines manufacturing capability, strengthen African regional health security and respond more equitably to the current COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics. Further to WHO’s the announcement in June of the first COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa, this letter of intent sets out the terms of the collaboration and responsibilities between our organisations. Through a shared responsibility approach, the organisations will ensure the most suitable platform technologies are selected for the development of COVID-19 vaccines, that technology transfer is in place and that funding is secured for the hub, clinical studies and manufacturing support. It will also ensure that, crucially, this platform for innovation in vaccines is sustainable, inclusive, and will lead to vaccine security for Africa in the future.  “Inequitable manufacturing and distribution of vaccines are behind the wave of death, which is now sweeping across many low- and middle-income countries that have been starved of vaccine supply,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization. “Building vaccine manufacturing capacity in South Africa is the first step in a broader effort to boost local production to address health emergencies and strengthen regional health security.” The new collaboration brings together key actors from COVAX partners, industry, government, academia, funding agencies, WHO AFRO, which was represented by Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti and the Africa CDC to collectively provide an enabling environment for the development of the first regional mRNA vaccine manufacturing production facility in Africa. “At the…

World Health Organization

COVID-19 booster strategy as Delta multiplies, highlights ‘disappointing inequality’: WHO

Geneva 12th July 2021. The COVID-19 Delta variant is travelling around the world at a “scorching pace” driving a new spike in cases and deaths, but it’s exposing a ‘hugely uneven and inequitable’ global gap in vaccine supply, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. Who DG Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus said, “We don’t know whether booster vaccines will be needed to maintain protection against COVID-19 until additional data is collected, but the question is under consideration by researchers.”  He said, “Clinical trials on these vaccines only began a year ago, and roll-out across populations even more recently. There is, therefore limited data available on how long the protection from current doses lasts and whether an additional booster dose would be beneficial and for whom.” 

How safe are vaccines for pregnant women and child

How safe are vaccines for pregnant women and children? Know from a government expert

Both pregnant woman and child can be saved by COVID-19 Vaccine: Dr N.K. Arora The COVID19 Vaccine is safe for both New Delhi / Mumbai, July 3, 2021: Dr N.K. Arora, Chairperson of the COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) spoke to DD News, on the vaccination guidelines for pregnant women, issued by the Health Ministry today. A Question of the Safety of Two Lives Dr N K Arora informed that the increased mortality of pregnant women during the second wave of COVID-19 has led to this decision. He said, “During the second wave, it was seen that mortality rates of pregnant women infected by COVID-19 had increased by two to three times, in comparison to the first wave. Under such a situation, it was felt that pregnant women should also become beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the case of pregnant women, it involves the safety of two lives – the mother and the child in her womb. Hence, the country has decided to vaccinate pregnant women.” Dr Arora stated that mothers will be benefitted more from this vaccine; they will remain free from fear and anxiety about coronavirus. “The child growing up in the mother’s womb can also be saved by means of the pregnant mother’s vaccination. If the mother develops immunity, it will be passed on to the foetus. The effect of the vaccine and immunity developed in the mother’s body will remain in the child at least till the time of birth.” Safety of Vaccines for Pregnant Women In reply to a query on how safe vaccines will be for pregnant women, Dr Arora pointed out that the whole world is now thinking that mothers should also be vaccinated because it will develop immunity not only in the mother’s body but also for the child. He said, “By and large, our vaccines have been found to be safe. Even in western countries like in Europe and North America where mRNA vaccines are being given, pregnant women are being vaccinated. Looking at these facts and figures, a decision has been taken…

COVID-19 News

Does covid vaccine cause infertility, know what the health ministry said

COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility Most people do not face any side-effect after COVID vaccination but it does not mean that vaccines are not efficient Know the Covid vaccine side effects We are soon going to have the world’s first DNA-plasmid vaccine by Zydus Cadilla which has been Made in India. The other vaccine that we can expect soon is Biological E – a protein subunit vaccine, informs Dr Narendra Kumar Arora, Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). He further informs that the trials of these vaccines have been quite encouraging. “We are hopeful that this vaccine will be available by September. The Indian m-RNA vaccine which can be stored at temperature 2 – 8 Degree Celsius should also be available by September. Two other vaccines namely Novavax by Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson may also be expected soon. By the third week of July, the production capacity of Bharat Biotech and SII are going to be increased phenomenally. This will enhance the vaccine supply in the country. By August, we expect to procure 30-35 crore doses in a month”. Dr Arora says that this will enable us to vaccinate one crore, persons, in a day. The Chairperson spoke on these and various other facets of India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, in an interview to Department of Science and Technology’s OTT – India Science Channel. How effective are the new vaccines going to be? When we say a certain vaccine is 80% effective, it means that vaccine reduces the chances of COVID-19 disease by 80%.  What is difference between infection and disease There is a difference between infection and disease. If a person has contracted COVID infection but is asymptomatic, this person only has an infection. However, if the person has symptoms due to the infection, this person has COVID disease. All vaccines in the world prevent COVID disease. There is very little chance of severe disease after vaccination while the chances of death after vaccination are negligible. If the efficacy of a vaccine is 80%, then 20% of the vaccinated…

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A vaccine for COVID-19: So near and yet so far

With the numbers of those infected with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) escalating every day globally we are indeed wading through turbulent waters with no end at sight. Scientists around the world are literally burning the midnight oil, searching frantically for a treatment to rid the world of this pandemic. It is a race between humans and the virus. And although it is too early to predict anything, their efforts for developing a vaccine have met with some initial successes, with 5 candidate vaccines having entered phase-3 of their clinical trials. And as we wait with bated breath for the magic vaccine, a historic moment has already set in with the large-scale manufacturing of some of these vaccines already begun, including in India. Saving human lives has primacy over money This is an unprecedented move – to start producing large quantities of vaccines irrespective of the final outcome of the trials. It is a calculated risk that philanthropic organisations and some governments are ready to take by giving precedence to saving human lives over losing money (in case the vaccine does not make it to the final milestone). It will ensure timely and large-scale availability of doses in case that particular vaccine is successful. AZD1222 One such candidate vaccine is AZD1222 that is being developed jointly by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, that has entered into a manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca, has committed to manufacture 1 billion (100 crore) doses of this vaccine and has already commenced production. “This is a big, yet deliverable, assurance for global health as India is already the biggest manufacturer and supplier of more than 60% different kinds of vaccines worldwide. It is vital to ensure that manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine remains in countries like India so that the world can have access to cheap and affordable prevention against the dreaded virus, without delay by ensuring equitable distribution”, said Dr Ishwar Gilada, senior infectious diseases expert, and Secretary-General of Organized Medicine Academic Guild (OMAG). Dr Gilada is also the President of AIDS Society of…

Health news

PAHO Director calls for continued immunization to avoid risk of other outbreaks during COVID-19 pandemic

Washington, DC, April 28, 2020 (PAHO) — The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa F. Etienne, today urged for vaccination programs to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. “If we fall behind on routine immunizations, particularly for children, we risk outbreaks, thus overwhelming hospitals and clinics with preventable diseases in addition to COVID-19,” said Dr. Etienne. In a press briefing updating the situation, Dr Etienne said, “until a vaccine for COVID19 is available, immunizations can and must be delivered by the health services alongside the response” to the pandemic. If countries fail to do this, “the impact on our health systems would take months or even years to reverse,” she added. A priority for countries, she said, is to “vaccinate to protect health workers, the elderly and vulnerable populations from other respiratory infections, such as influenza and pneumococcus, which can lead to more hospitalizations and may be harder to diagnose in the context of COVID-19.” Maintaining capacity in vaccination is also key to ensuring the Region’s “readiness to deliver the vaccine for COVID 19” when it is developed, Dr Etienne noted. Vaccination Week in the America This week, “Vaccination Week in the Americas is a time to promote and celebrate the life-saving power of vaccines.  In 2020, we approach it with an acute sense of urgency,” she said, adding, “History has shown us that after wars or epidemics, if we allow large gaps in immunization coverage, vaccine preventable diseases like polio and measles can re-emerge.” While measles was eliminated in the Americas in 2016, “As coverage rates dropped we faced outbreaks in Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia and in a few states in the US. As we speak, at least three countries are working to contain measles outbreaks in Latin America,” said the PAHO Director. “Efforts to control measles must continue, safely, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, or we risk erasing more than 20 years of progress,” she warned. More than one million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the USA As of April 27, more than one million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Americas, and…