SÃO PAULO – Brazil’s health authority, Anvisa, said it seriously doubted the safety and efficacy of Sputnik V, blaming Russia’s inexperience and defensiveness for making it difficult to approve the Covid-19 vaccine for use in Latin America’s largest country.
Anvisa blocks Russian fire approval for emergency use last week, even as hard-hit Brazil faced a severe shortage of the Covid-19 vaccine, caused concern around the world, with more than 60 countries having approved the use of Sputnik.
Anvisa’s medicine and biological products manager, Gustavo Mendes, said in an interview on Monday that Brazil feared the vaccine could contain particles of the active adenovirus, which causes the common cold, which could make recipients sick.
Mr Mendes said Brazil also had doubts about the methodology used in the Sputnik clinical trial and whether the batch of doses Brazil would receive would be identical to the injections tested in the trial.
“It’s a question of safety and efficacy,” said Mendes, saying that Anvisa had faced intense pressure from the public to approve the injections, with more than 2,000 people dying each day from the disease in Brazil.
“They told us ‘People are dying, this vaccine can save lives,’ but with the many questions and doubts we have, it’s not clear if this vaccine will really provide any protection,” said Mendes.
Both Chile and Colombia have sought further information from Brazil about the possible Sputnik problem following last week’s Anvisa decision, he said.
Anvisa could still approve the injection if its maker, Russia’s state-owned Gamaleya Research Institute, provided more information to prove the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, or adjust the manufacturing process, Mendes said.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which manages gunfire sales abroad, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Russia has previously dismissed Brazil’s concerns, accusing Anvisa of acting politically on Washington’s orders to discredit the vaccine.
—Georgi Kantchev in Burgas, Bulgaria, contributed to this article.
Australian parents continue to demonstrate their faith in vaccination, with record rates of childhood immunization in the first quarter of 2021.
For four consecutive quarters, the coverage rate for five year olds has increased to a historic 95.22 percent.
This goes beyond our national aspirations by 95 per cent, and provides Australia with the herd immunity needed to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.
It is also well above the World Health Organization’s estimated average international immunization coverage rate of 86 percent for children aged five years, making Australia the leading vaccination country in the world.
Each year, the Australian Government invests more than $ 400 million in the National Immunization Program.
The Child Immunization Education Campaign is contributing to growing immunization rates across the country, including in areas where there are doubts about vaccination.
Across Australia, the coverage rate for one year olds has increased to 94.91 percent for the 12 months to March 2021. Two year olds have a coverage rate of 92.53 percent.
The highest coverage rate remains Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at age five – an impressive 97.26 percent.
The vaccination rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged two years increased to 91.73 percent, while for one year old children 93.70 percent.
This high childhood coverage rate also reflects trends in the 2020 influenza season, when more than 17.6 million flu vaccines are available on the Australian market, including through the National Immunization Program.
It is exciting to see immunization rates increasing as Australia and the world continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents continue to show their trust in expert medical advice and in Australia’s independent medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to protect their children.
Australia childhood immunization rates – December 2020 to March 2021
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory
/ Media releases. This material comes from the original organization and may be point-in-time, edited for clarity, style and length. view more here.
South Korean Olympic table tennis team tennis player Jeon Ji-Hee receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the National Medical Center Thursday, April 29, 2021 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has started delivering fast-track COVID-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
South Korean Olympic judo team player An Ba-ul receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the National Medical Center Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has started delivering fast-track COVID-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
South Korean Olympic taekwondo team player Lee Dae-hoon receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the National Medical Center Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has started delivering fast-track COVID-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
A South Korean Olympic volleyball team player receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the National Medical Center Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has started delivering fast-track COVID-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
South Korean Olympic table tennis team player Lee Sang-su receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the National Medical Center Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has started delivering fast-track COVID-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
By HYUNG-JIN KIM Associated Press
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea began delivering fast-track COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics.
The Korea Sports and Olympic Committee said the first group of about 100 people received the first dose at a government-run hospital in Seoul at the start of the country’s priority vaccination program for the Olympic delegation. They will be given a second chance in the coming weeks.
A total of 930 athletes, coaches, officials and other support staff will be vaccinated ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which open on July 23. Athletes can receive the vaccine if they have qualified for the Olympics or are in a qualifying tournament, so some may get vaccinated but not attend matches.
The sports ministry said in a statement this week that it supports South Korean athletes preparing for the Olympics and hopes their vaccinations will help bring about “safe and successful participation in the games.”
It said athletes and coaches would all get the Pfizer vaccine. Officials, support staff and journalists aged 30 or over will be given the AstraZeneca vaccine but those under 30 will receive the Pfizer vaccine in line with the national vaccination program, the statement said.
South Korea is tentatively targeting to send an estimated 800-900 people to the Olympics, 350 of whom are athletes and coaches at 27 events. Olympic committee officials hope to complete the Olympic delegation by the end of June when all qualifying tournaments are completed.
TACUAREMBÓ, Uruguay – Elmiria Camilo, a 53-year-old tailor in this quiet town, received her first injection of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine when she developed a sore throat earlier this month. A week later he died.
His death and other recent losses across South America offer a difficult and serious reality: The most severe infections and deaths are partly due to the raging variant, with countries including those that have given vaccines broadly struggling to contain the outbreak.
Doctors here say they believe Miss Camilo is one of the newest victims of P.1, an aggressive variant of Brazil that has been detected in more than 30 countries and is now spreading across the continent, turning Uruguay, a country of 3.5 million people, into one of the worst Covid-19 hot spots in the world.
“I never thought I would lose my mother like that,” said Camilo’s daughter, Nancy Lefebre, who said goodbye in a video call before her mother died in the hospital’s intensive care unit. “Wish I could see her one more time.”
The hikes here offer lessons for the whole world. The P.1 variant has spread to countries including Canada, where in the province of British Columbia, officials have recorded 2,062 P.1 cases on April 26, up from 974 on April 9. Turkey and Hungary have struggled with surges largely driven by the more contagious British variant. Doctors in India are studying whether a new variant adds to the record increase in cases and deaths. One variant, B.1.617, already exists appeared in the US and 18 other countries.
Once praised for limiting the spread of the coronavirus in a region hit by the pandemic, Uruguay has in the past two weeks had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths per capita anywhere outside of Europe. Approximately 420 people died from the disease in the seven days ended April 26, more than double the number of deaths in all of 2020. P.1 is estimated to be responsible for three out of four new infections.
While one-third of the population in Uruguay received at least one dose, only 15% have been fully vaccinated. For most people 70 years of age or younger, the country uses Sinovac’s CoronaVac, which has been shown to be 16% effective after the first dose.
In Peru, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world, the second wave made April the deadliest month since the pandemic began, often with more than 400 deaths every day. Health officials say the country of about 30 million is awash with variants, including P.1, which medical authorities say causes 40% of infections in Lima. Authorities are also studying a new strain called C.37, which appears to have originated in Peru and has also raised concerns in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador.
Colombia, a country of 50 million, is seeing occupancy rates in intensive care units as high as 90% in the capital, Bogotá, with hospitals in other cities at a breaking point.
Doctors said some people, tired of the restrictions or courageous after the first shot of the two-shot vaccine, let their guard down, helping the virus multiply. They added that such behavior cannot fully explain the spike
“The pace of new infections tells us that it’s not just about people dropping their guard and having a meeting,” said Dr. Luis Jorge Hernández, an epidemiologist at the University of the Andes. “There are external factors here. It must be a new strain. There is no other explanation. “
Many of the countries in South America that have seen sharp increases in cases and deaths largely do not carry out extensive genome sequencing to determine how many have been infected by P.1. The hypothesis is that a variant from Brazil, for weeks as one of the worst-hit countries in the world, is driving the pandemic.
People’s behavior hasn’t changed substantially, but cases and deaths are soaring, according to Daniel Salinas, Uruguay’s health minister.
“It’s easy to understand what’s going on – it’s the Brazilian variant, P.1, it infects the whole continent,” he said in an interview.
As in Chile, which provides a high percentage of the vaccine to its people, Uruguay’s success to date in dealing with the pandemic has prompted people to become complacent when exposed to P.1, the researchers said. The problem for both countries is that the CoronaVac vaccine they provide is one of the least effective in the world. It has an efficacy rate of 16% after the first dose, according to a recent Chilean study.
Lefebre, who lost his mother this month, said his father developed a much milder case of Covid-19 after a second dose of CoronaVac.
The vaccine “creates a feeling of insecurity,” said Gregorio Iraola at the Pasteur biomedical research center in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. These behavioral and biological factors are combined in an explosive manner.
Marta Roman, supervisor of a vaccination center in Uruguay near the border with Brazil, said she saw a spike in the number of people infected with Covid-19 between doses, mistakenly believing they had immunity when they didn’t.
P.1 is up to 2.2 times more contagious and as much as 61% more capable of re-infecting people than previous versions of the coronavirus, according to a recent Brazilian study. Researchers are still investigating whether the strains are more lethal. They are also trying to determine with certainty how well the vaccine works against P.1, although preliminary testing is promising.
Epidemiologists have also traced other Brazilian variants, warning that the country’s high infection rates have made it a breeding ground for mutations. Among the most worrying is the new strain from the state of Minas Gerais, which shares several mutations found in P.1 and variants of South Africa.
While the rate of new infections and deaths has slowed in Brazil over the past few weeks, around 100 Brazilians still die every hour from Covid-19, more than double the rate in July.
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The P.1 variant had no trouble crossing to Uruguay from Brazil. The narrow, tree-lined road is the only thing separating the border town of Rivera in Uruguay from the community of Santana do Livramento in Brazil. Without immigration controls, residents freely cross as if in one city – shopping, working, dating, and even getting married across the border.
Sure enough, Rivera was one of the first places in Uruguay to be hit by P.1. Younger people suddenly started getting very sick, a situation previously detected in Brazil. Doctors at Rivera have also noticed that patients get sick faster and take longer to recover.
To exclude Brazilians who may be carrying a P.1, Rivera closed duty-free shops, the city’s main source of income, in March.
“We are at war with an unseen enemy, a very powerful enemy,” said Dr. Ciro Ferreira, director of the general hospital Tacuarembó. “We have never faced a situation as difficult as we had today.”
Gastón Bordagorria, a 52-year-old journalist from Tacuarembó, was among those who fell ill, spent 10 days connected to oxygen in hospital this month.
“I was so afraid I would die,” he said. “I’m afraid I won’t be able to say goodbye to my parents, to my children.”
Brazil has fully vaccinated only 6% of the population, and many Brazilians with Uruguayan passports have crossed the border to be inoculated.
Fabricia Ribeiro, 33, who is afraid of catching P.1, said she had driven six hours from her home in Brazil to be vaccinated in Rivera. His neighbor, also 33, was put on a ventilator after being diagnosed with P.1, he said.
With three million doses of CoronaVac and three million doses
-BioNTech shot, Uruguay has chosen to administer a dose of Pfizer to healthcare workers and anyone over the age of 70, and administer CoronaVac for everyone. Two-dose Pfizer inoculation is at least 97% effective in preventing symptomatic illness and death, according to data compiled by the Israeli Ministry of Health. The two-dose CoronaVac vaccination is 67% effective in preventing disease and 80% effective in preventing death, according to a recent study in Chile.
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“The Sinovac vaccine is given to those who are younger and less likely to die,” said Mr Salinas, the health minister.
Marco Antonio Gorgoroso, a 45-year-old waitress, said he would have preferred to receive the Pfizer vaccine had he been given a choice. “But whatever the government offers, we have to take it,” he said. “It’s an honor to have a vaccine.”
—Silvina Frydlewsky in Buenos Aires and Kejal Vyas in Bogotá, Colombia, contributed to this article.
People wait at a vaccination center in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Monday, April 26, 2021. Germany’s COVID-19 vaccination program will be discussed at a meeting with German Governor and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today.
People are on their way to their vaccinations at a vaccination center in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Monday, April 26, 2021. Germany’s COVID-19 vaccination program will be discussed at a meeting with German Governor and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today.
In the family doctor’s practice, a man gets his first vaccination against the corona virus with the active substance from Astrazeneca in Potsdam, Germany, Monday, April 26, 2021. In the afternoon, there will be a peak in vaccination for the federal and state governments.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference following the vaccination summit in Chancellor, Berlin, Monday 26 April 2021.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference following the vaccination summit in Chancellor, Berlin, Monday 26 April 2021.
BERLIN (AP) – Chancellor Angela Merkel and governors of Germany’s 16 states on Monday discussed whether people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should be exempted from certain restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
The issue of special rights for vaccinated people has become a hot topic of debate in Germany, as in other countries.
Some people argue it’s unfair for those who haven’t been able to get the injection. Others say restrictions on civil liberties are justified while people pose a risk to others.
Scientists say that while the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of serious illness, it’s not clear whether people who have been immunized can still spread the virus.
The head of conservative Christian Democrats Merkel said she wanted clarity on the issue of privileges for people who are vaccinated and those who have recovered from COVID-19 infection.
“This needs to be resolved today in a binding way,” said Armin Laschet. The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, was recently proposed by Merkel’s Union bloc as its candidate to replace him as chancellor in the September 26 federal election.
After a slow start, Germany – like other EU countries – has seen a sharp rise in vaccination rates in recent weeks.