The global number of new COVID-19 infections has decreased for several consecutive weeks since early January. Immunization has been implemented in at least 70 countries. The COVAX vaccine program is expected to deliver to more poorer countries the first doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks …
The number of new COVID-19 cases decreased for several consecutive weeks
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide fell 16% last week to 2.7 million cases. Accordingly, on February 16, information in the weekly epidemiological update, using data as of 14.2, WHO said that the number of new deaths also decreased by 10% compared to the previous week, to 81,000.
Five out of six WHO regions in the world have recorded a 2-digit increase in COVID-19 cases, only the Eastern Mediterranean region where the number of COVID-19 cases increased 7%. In particular, last week, the number of new cases decreased by 20% in Africa and the Western Pacific, 18% in Europe, 16% in the Americas and 13% in Southeast Asia.
Earlier this week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of new COVID-19 cases fell for the fifth week in a row, down by nearly half, from more than 5 million cases in the week that started April 4.
“This shows that simple public health measures work, even when there are variations. What is important now is how we respond to this trend. The flame is not out yet, but we have reduced its size. If we stop fighting on any of the fronts, it will flare up again, “- he said.
The WHO epidemiological update also revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 variant detected for the first time in the UK was recorded in 94 countries, an increase of eight. Local transmission of variant, not variant infection, has been recorded in at least 47 countries.
Variants SARS-CoV-2 detected in South Africa was recorded in 46 countries, up 2 countries, with local transmission recorded in at least 12 countries.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian variant was detected in 21 countries, up 6 countries, with the local transmission noted in at least 2 countries.
The immunization program runs in at least 70 countries
On February 17, Japan started the COVID-19 vaccination program developed by American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German pharmaceutical company BioNTech. The program kicked off with 40,000 health workers with the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered at a government-run hospital in Tokyo. Over the next week, the vaccination will roll out in about 100 medical facilities across Japan.
In the first group of health workers vaccinated, 20,000 people will participate in a study to track the potential side effects the vaccine can cause and how often they occur. Participants in the trial will be asked to retain data daily for 7 weeks from the first shot of the vaccine.
Following this group of health workers, more than 3.7 million Japanese frontline health workers will begin receiving vaccinations in March, followed by 36 million people aged 65 and over to begin vaccination. April. After that, people with underlying diseases such as diabetes or heart disease and those working in aged care facilities will be vaccinated, and finally the general population of Japan to be vaccinated. .
Medical facilities in Japan are fully equipped with ultra-cold freezers to store vaccines at a temperature of about -75 degrees Celsius. After taking out of the freezer, vaccines should be stored in the refrigerator and used. use within 5 days.
Meanwhile, the COVAX program, which attempts to buy and distribute COVID-19 worldwide vaccine to ensure poorer countries also have access to the vaccine, said the final list of vaccine batches for the first deliveries. to be announced next week, after WHO has licensed AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
On February 15, WHO approved emergency use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine produced at factories in India and South Korea. With this decision, the company’s vaccine could now be shipped via COVAX, giving many countries the first doses of the vaccine. “COVAX forecasts most of the first deliveries will take place in March, with some early shipments taking place by the end of February” – WHO, the organization co-leads the program, stated in the statement.
The Provisional Distribution List, published on February 3, has 337.2 million initial doses of the program’s vaccine, with 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the rest being the AstraZeneca vaccine. Both of these vaccines have been approved by WHO for emergency use.
About 145 economies participating in the COVAX program will receive enough doses to vaccinate 3.3% of the population by mid-2021. “Deliveries for the first round of allocation will take place on a rotational and incremental basis. batch “- noted