Covid-19: what you need to know today
The UK, which has a spotty track record in managing coronavirus disease, was the first country to decide to rely on herd immunity after all before realizing the folly of the approach, became the third country ( after China and Russia) and the first Westerner to approve a vaccine for Covid-19.
China has approved three vaccines for emergency use; Russia, two. UK regulatory approval for the mRNA vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE arrived on Wednesday, with the first injections of the vaccine likely to be delivered by the end of next week. The UK has said it expects delivery of 800,000 of the 40 million doses of the vaccine it has ordered next week. The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is a two-dose vaccine that must be stored at Antarctic temperatures (which also means that the vaccines cannot be moved too far), which means that the UK could vaccinate 400,000 of its inhabitants from the first delivery . Analysts expect the country to receive a few million doses of the vaccine this year; the vaccines will be administered by the UK National Health Service. The UK has firm agreements with a group of vaccine manufacturers for around 350 million doses, which should be adequate for a country of 67 million.
- The UK, a country that did almost everything wrong at the start of the pandemic, has emerged at the forefront of countries poised to make the best of the disease as the world enters 2021, a year to be defined by vaccines. and vaccination efforts, almost as much as 2020 was for the Sars-Cov-2 and Covid-19 viruses.
Thus, a country that did almost everything wrong at the beginning of the pandemic has emerged at the forefront of countries poised to make the best of the disease as the world enters 2021, a year to be defined by vaccines. and vaccination efforts, almost as much as 2020 was for the Sars-Cov-2 and Covid-19 viruses.
There has been some confusion about India’s own vaccination plans, which have also gained traction: the country is betting on the Astra Zeneca / Oxford vaccine, manufactured in Pune by the Serum Institute of India; The UK also has a large order with AstraZeneca, for around 100 million doses, and is moving ahead with regulatory approval of the vaccine, which released test data that has come under some scrutiny (and may well prevent the U.S. drug regulator, for example), upon approval of the vaccine in that country). There is also a trial of this vaccine in India (although the country may approve the vaccine based on the results of its UK / Brazil trial that have been published), but the confusion does not come from that front, it comes from a comment Almost dismissed from Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday that the Indian government “never spoke of vaccinating the entire country.”
PLOT FOR UNIVERSAL VACCINATION
- There is a scientific basis for vaccinating everyone. While more data from trials and infections are needed, questions remain about the extent of the natural immunity of those infected but who remained asymptomatic. Leaving it to nature is a risk that the world cannot afford to take. Universal vaccination is the only solution.
The comment, which has been followed by radio silence, at least on his part, goes against what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: that all Indians will be vaccinated. Sure, the head of the Indian Medical Research Council, Balram Bhargava (who was at the same briefing as Bhushan), tried to explain the health secretary’s comment saying that the purpose of vaccination is to “break the chain of infection. “and that” if we are able to vaccinate a critical mass of people and break the transmission of the virus, we may not have to vaccinate the entire population. “
It is important to clarify that the coronavirus vaccines that are being developed are not for everyone. They are for adults only. None of the vaccine trials so far, save one, has been done in people under 18 years of age. The exception is the Pfizer / BioNTech trial that, in September, recruited children between the ages of 15 and 17 (in October, it recruited more children, some as young as 12). But the results of this part of the trial are not yet known. And it is unlikely that Bhushan had this nuance in mind when he said what he did.
As for Bhargava’s explanation, while technically correct, it is perhaps only slightly less dangerous than the original UK herd immunity strategy. This is not how a pandemic as infectious and as debilitating for the body, spirit and economy as Covid-19 is crushed.
There is also a scientific basis for vaccinating everyone. As Eric Topol and Dennis Burton of The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California recently wrote in Nature Medicine, at the end of a short but illuminating note discussing natural immunity and vaccine-based immunity: “Overall, we are optimistic, given the number of platforms being investigated and the enormous efforts underway, that a vaccine (or vaccines) against COVID-19 with an immune response and protection superior to that achieved through natural infection is an achievable goal “.
While, as the authors say, more data from trials and infections are needed, questions remain about the extent of natural immunity of people infected but who remained asymptomatic. Leaving it to nature is a risk that the world cannot afford to take.
Universal vaccination is the only solution.