World Covid jabs extended to all over-65s from Monday
Ahead of African vaccination campaigns, scepticism takes hold
Conspiracy theories, mistrust and patchy communication have contributed to a flourishing of scepticism about Covid-19 vaccines in African countries, experts say, posing potential dangers to future immunisation campaigns. One prevalent conspiracy theory, for example, holds that the Covid-19 vaccines are designed to quell Africa's population growth.Anti-vaccine sentiment, often fed by rumours spread on social media, is already thriving in the West.
People aged 65 to 69 in England are among those being invited to book their Covid-19 jab as the vaccination programme enters a new phase on Monday.
The clinically vulnerable are also being offered the jab as the vaccine rollout is officially expanded beyond the.
The UK is on track to offer the jab to all of the most vulnerable people by Monday, ministers have said.
So far, more than 14.5 million people in the UK have had.
Almost 1.2 million letters were due to have landed on the doorsteps of over-65s and the clinically vulnerable by Saturday asking people to log on to the national booking service, NHS England said.
The Pandemic Is in Tenuous Retreat
New COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all dropped this week.The good news in COVID-19 data continued this week, as new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all dropped. For the seven-day period running January 28 to February 3, weekly new cases were down more than 16 percent over the previous week, and dropped below 1 million for the first time since the week of November 5. This is still an astonishing number of new cases a week, but far better than the nearly 1.8 million cases reported the week of January 14. Tests also declined nationally, but by less than 3 percent, nowhere near enough to explain the steep drop in cases.
A further 1.2 million are due to arrive this week.
Those who receive a letter can choose from more than 100 vaccination centres or almost 200 pharmacy services.
GP-led vaccination sites will focus initially on the clinically vulnerable because of the relationship between general practice and those with long-term conditions.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation defines clinically vulnerable people as those with conditions including chronic respiratory disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, and severe asthma.
Until now, the vaccination programme has been aimed at NHS frontline staff, care home residents and workers, along with over-70s and people deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.
China delivers 600,000 vaccine doses to ally Cambodia
China delivered 600,000 doses of its Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine to ally Cambodia on Sunday, making the kingdom the latest country to use Chinese jabs despite concerns about their efficacy compared to Western alternatives. Cambodian leader Hun Sen announced last month that China would donate one million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the kingdom -- which will cover 500,000 people because two doses are required. On Sunday, the strongman premier greeted the arrival of the first batch at Phnom Penh's international airport. It's unclear when the remaining doses are scheduled to touch down.
However, some regions have already started vaccinating people aged 65 to 69, with NHS England having previously said that people in this age group could get a vaccine if GPs have supplies.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the vaccination programme has already protected more than 12 million of the most vulnerable people against Covid.
"This is an exciting moment as we now move on to those aged 65 and over and the clinically vulnerable as part of our plan to vaccinate as many people as possible who can benefit from it," he said.
"However, if you have already been offered a jab but have not taken it up it is not too late. Please come forward and help us to help."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "The vaccination programme is continuing at an unprecedented speed and, as we're on target to offer vaccines to all those in the first four priority groups by Monday, we are determined to keep up the momentum by expanding it even further."
South Africa suspends vaccinations as worries grow over AstraZeneca shot
South Africa suspended the start of its AstraZeneca inoculation programme over concerns the shot does not work on a new variant, with WHO experts due to meet Monday to discuss the vaccine already facing questions about its efficacy for over-65s. A trial showed the vaccine provides only "minimal" protection against mild to moderate Covid-19 caused by the variant first detected in South Africa, a setback to the global fight against the pandemic as many poorer nations are relying on the logistical advantages offered by the AstraZeneca shot.
Speaking at a vaccination bus in Greenwich, south-east London, Prof Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, urged everyone who receives a letter to get the vaccine without hesitation.
He said officials had been working with faith groups and local community leaders to encourage everybody to come forward.
"Don't hesitate at all. These vaccines are safe, they're effective against Covid, they'll protect you, they'll protect your loved ones, and of course they'll help get society back to normal again," he said.
- LOOK-UP TOOL:
- LOCKDOWN RULES:
- OXFORD JAB:
Meanwhile, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said his country had begun contacting some over-50s, while Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she expects many in the 65-69 age group to have had their first jab by the middle of this month after the vast majority of older people were vaccinated.
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health is offering everyone over 65 a vaccine by the end of February as it works its way through priority groups four and five, although it is expected to help the UK meet its overall target.
South Africa scraps AstraZeneca COVID vaccine
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says South Africa will launch inoculation campaign with Johnson & Johnson shots instead.The country, worst-hit by the pandemic in Africa, has suspended its vaccine roll-out that was due to begin with Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this week after a study found the jab failed to prevent mild and moderate illness caused by a variant discovered in South Africa dubbed 501Y.V2.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the "huge progress" made with the vaccine rollout,
He said ministers were hopeful schools can reopen from 8 March, with the government looking to open non-essential shops after this and then the hospitality sector.
However, scientists have warned against easing restrictions too quickly when the PM sets out his "road map" out of lockdown on 22 February.
When did vaccinations start?
The UK's vaccination programme began on 8 December 2020 with people receiving the vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.
From 4 January people began receiving the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Both vaccines, which require two doses for full protection, were approved by the UK's medicines regulator.
A decision was taken by health officials to offer a first dose to as many vulnerable people as possible by extending the gap between doses from three to four weeks to closer to 12 weeks.
- LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO WATCH?:
- THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB:
COVID vaccines land in Northern Territory .
The Northern Territory's initial coronavirus vaccination jabs are expected within 24 hours after the first batch of doses arrived in Darwin.Two boxes of about 1000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived at Darwin Airport on a Qantas flight from Sydney about 11.30am on Sunday.