The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, 15 February, gave its approval for emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. This, according to news agency AFP, is “a boost for poor countries where millions of doses are set to be distributed.”
“The WHO today listed two versions of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for these vaccines to be rolled out globally through Covax.”WHO statement
The AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to store and transport than some of the other COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore, Covax – an international programme designed to ensure that poor countries get the vaccine – will comprise almost entirely of the Astra Zeneca shot.
So far, even though 172 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given worldwide, most of these doses were confined to richer countries, reported AFP.
According to AFP, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a media briefing:
“Today we have even more reason to be hopeful of bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control.”
Meanwhile, according to AFP, some COVID-19 vaccine roll-outs are continuing to court controversy.
Peru’s foreign minister resigned on Sunday in connection with a scandal over top officials not waiting for their turn in the queue for vaccinations.
Britain, which has garnered praise for its vaccination drive, is one of the world’s worst-hit countries with more than 1,17,000 deaths.
Further, Britain began mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from high risk countries on Monday, and is also the origin country of one of the COVID-19 variants that have since travelled to other parts of the world, including to New Zealand.
Other countries such as Vietnam, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand are imposing fresh restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
(With inputs from AFP)
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