South Africa’s drugs regulator, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has given a go-ahead to the implementation study of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, thus making way for the first inoculation of the vaccines amongst the health workers.
According to Reuter news report, “SAHPRA has approved the implementation study.
“’The implementation study, similar to the final phase of a vaccine trial, will test the effects of the vaccine in the field after it is administered to around 350,000 to 500,000 health care workers”.
What you should know
- South Africa is currently the hardest-hit African country and accounts for over a third of the continent’s infections and almost half of the deaths, led primarily by the new, more contagious variant called 501Y.V2.
- As South Africa is yet to commence its COVID-19 vaccination programme based on the less potency of AstraZeneca’s two-shot vaccine, its government has resolved to go ahead with the J&J dose.
- According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the first batch of J&J’s 80,000 doses is expected to arrive South Africa shortly.
- J&J was the first pharmaceutical major to apply to the local regulator in December to register its COVID-19 vaccine, although Pfizer and AstraZeneca have also applied.
- According to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), J&J has not yet submitted a special domestic application for emergency use authorisation of its vaccine – known as a Section 21 application.
Covid:19 WHO says wealthy countries are undermining COVAX vaccine initiative
WHO DG has said that the deal between rich countries and vaccine manufacturers is undermining its COVAX initiative.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that the deal between high-income countries and manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccine are undermining its COVAX initiative by reducing the number of doses it can purchase.
This is as he pleads with rich countries to check before ordering additional Covid-19 vaccine shots for themselves whether that undermines efforts to get vaccine shots to poorer nations.
According to a report from Al Jazeera, this was disclosed by the WHO boss after talks with German President, Walter Steinmeier
Wealthy nations have snapped up several billion vaccine doses and some countries have ordered enough shots to vaccinate their populations more than once, while some countries in the developing world have little or none.
Tedros said that these actions by the rich countries have even led to the reduction of the amount that was allocated to COVAX, although he did not mention the names of the countries involved or provide other details.
He harped on the need for the rich countries to cooperate in respecting the deals that COVAX has with the manufacturers and make sure before they seek more vaccines that their requests do not undermine those deals.
Tedros said, “But I don’t think they’re asking that question.’’
Tedros, who has earlier warned that the world faces a catastrophic moral failure if Covid-19 vaccines are not distributed fairly, said he understands the political pressures leaders in high-income countries face.
He said, “If this virus is not defeated everywhere, we cannot defeat it globally. It will have a safe haven somewhere and can strike back.’’
He added that countries left behind in vaccinating could also become breeding grounds for new variants.
He also called for the stepping up of vaccine production because with increased production, there will be more vaccines available, then there is a better volume to share.
What you should know
- The WHO has kicked against vaccine nationalism, which they said will prolong the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. A successful global vaccination campaign is considered to be key to stemming the pandemic.
- This led to the launching of the WHO-backed COVAX initiative to ensure equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccine across the globe, especially among the poorer countries.
- European nations have given financial support to the UN-backed COVAX scheme, which aims to get vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people and are considering sharing some of their own doses, though they have not specified when.
- On Friday, leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers said they would accelerate global vaccine development and deployment and support “affordable and equitable access to vaccines” and treatments for COVID-19.
They cited a collective $7.5bn from the G7 to UN-backed efforts.
Ghana receives World’s first doses of free WHO Covax vaccines
Ghana received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Covax.
Ghana has received the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute inoculations for free, as the world races to contain the pandemic.
This was disclosed by World Health Organisation (WHO) Accra, Ghana via it’s Twitter handle on Wednesday.
Covax, launched last April to help ensure a fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines between rich and poor nations, said it would deliver two billion doses to its members by the end of the year.
In a joint statement issued by UNICEF and WHO, it stated, “We are pleased that Ghana has become the first country to receive the Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax facility.
“The 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India, are part of an initial tranche of deliveries headed to several low and middle-income countries.”
According to France24, the Emirates flight carrying the vaccines touched down at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport shortly after 0740 GMT, according to images broadcast on television.
— WHO Ghana (@WHOGhana) February 24, 2021
What you should know
- Covax had said it aimed to deliver 2,412,000 doses of the vaccine to Ghana.
- The country’s food and drug authority has authorised the use of the vaccines made in India as well as the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.
- The West African nation has recorded 80,759 Covid-19 cases and 582 deaths since the start of the pandemic. These figures are believed to fall short of the real toll as the number of tests is low.
- Health workers and other frontline staff are meant to be among the first to receive doses.
- “In the days ahead, frontline workers will begin to receive vaccines,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. “The next phase in the fight against this disease can begin – the ramping up of the largest immunization campaign in history.”
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