The global tally of cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is closing in on 82 million, the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker shows. Amid this, a number of countries have commenced vaccination drives against the pandemic, with mostly the Pfizer-BioNTech SE or the Moderna vaccine being administered. Some countries, in fact, are using both.
Click here for full Covid-19 coverage
Several countries are on the verge of approving a vaccine while others are still conducting trials or awaiting trial results. Here are some latest updates with regards to the Covid-19 vaccine drives or the vaccine development front:
1. Singapore on Wednesday became the first Asian country to begin a vaccination drive for its healthcare workers, who were administered the Pfizer-BioNTech SE vaccine. More healthcare institutions will follow in the coming weeks while senior citizens will start receiving vaccine shots from February.
2. Ireland on Tuesday commenced vaccinations, with a 79-year-old woman becoming the first Irish citizen to receive a Covid-19 vaccine shot. Like most other countries, Ireland, too, has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech SE vaccine. Incidentally, on Tuesday, the country reported its highest single-day virus count of 1,546.
3. Mexico’s deputy health minister on Tuesday said that China’s CanSino Biologics Inc will submit the trial results of its Covid-19 vaccine to the Mexican authorities next week. Mexico is among the countries where vaccinations kicked off, with more than 18,500 healthcare workers having received vaccine shots since last week, when the immunisation drive started.
4. Russia has applied for phase 3 trials of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, the world’s third worst-hit country, the South American country’s health regulator, Anvisa, announced on Tuesday. Anvisa further said that it would review the request within 72 hours.
5. Iran on Tuesday started its first study of the safety and effectiveness of a Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is the first in Iran to reach human trials stage and has been developed by Shifa Pharmed, a part of the state-owned pharmaceutical, Barekat.
(With agency inputs)