Many European countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Latvia are suspending the use of AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine against Covid-19 as a precaution, after the report of “possible” side effects but without a proven link for the time being. Blood clots have been seen in people who have received the vaccine.
Sweden and Cyprus followed suit on Tuesday March 16. In Sweden, this measure is being implemented pending an analysis by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European regulator. “This is a precautionary measure,” said epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, adding that the Swedish Medicines Agency was also investigating the Anglo-Swedish company’s vaccine.
In Cyprus too, the measure will remain in force until the EMA takes a decision. The island intends to purchase 50,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine as soon as the EMA gives the green light.
For the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which will have an “extraordinary meeting” on the subject on Thursday, the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks.
Switzerland: Roche launches diagnostic test to detect variations in coronavirus
Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche announced on Tuesday the launch of a new diagnostic test, designed to detect variations in the coronavirus for research purposes. This new test, intended for laboratory research, should help scientists monitor mutations in the virus, their prevalence and potential impact on the diagnosis of infections, vaccines and therapies, the Swiss group said in a statement.
Called Cobas®SARS-CoV-2 Variant Set 1, this test makes it possible to detect and differentiate the different mutations observed in the British, South African and Brazilian variants.
The test is designed for use on its Cobas 6800/8800 machines, widely distributed in analytical laboratories and hospitals.
France: imminent decisions?
“We will have to take new decisions in the coming days, no doubt,” to fight against the epidemic, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Monday, the question arising of a possible reconfinement of the Paris region, where hospital services intensive care unit are under great pressure.
Italy, which has exceeded 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, is three quarters confined from Monday when Portugal begins with “caution” the lifting of restrictions put in place.
Towards production of Sputnik V in Europe
The Russian Sovereign Fund (RDIF) announced on Monday that agreements for the production of the Sputnik V vaccine had been reached “with companies from Italy, Spain, France and Germany” to be able “to supply the single European market with Sputnik V upon authorization by the European Medicines Agency “.
The French and Spanish governments have told AFP that they are not aware of such agreements.
China offers vaccines to peacekeepers
China will give the UN 300,000 doses of vaccine against the Covid-19 pandemic for peacekeepers, a gift in addition to the 200,000 doses already promised by India to some 100,000 soldiers and police officers employed in missions of peace.
Flame of the Olympics without an audience
The ceremony marking the start of the Olympic torch relay on March 25, four months before the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games, will take place without an audience as a precaution against the pandemic.
Indonesia: vast vaccination campaign launched in Bali
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday launched a mass vaccination campaign in Bali in hopes that the island may soon reopen to foreign visitors. Bali has designated three popular tourist districts – Ubud, Gianyar and Nusa Dua – as Covid-19 green zones in the first step towards reopening the island to the outside world. Bali aims to vaccinate 150,000 people working in the tourism sector in the first phase of the vaccination campaign, island governor Wayan Koster said last week.
Bali reopened to domestic visitors in July, but plans to return foreign tourists in September have been put on hold following a spike in coronavirus cases.
No new date has been set for the reopening to foreign visitors, but Wayan Koster said he hoped it could be as early as August. Indonesia has so far vaccinated nearly 4.1 million people using the vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech.
Jakarta plans to achieve collective immunity by vaccinating 185 million of its 270 million people within 15 months. The fourth most populous country in the world has reported more than 1.4 million cases of Covid-19 and 38,573 deaths.
Brazil: orders 100 million doses, changes again Minister of Health
Brazil, where Covid-19 has claimed 278,000 lives, has ordered 100 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 38 million doses of Janssen vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
President Jair Bolsonaro said Monday evening that he had decided to appoint his fourth Minister of Health since the start of the pandemic.
Chile is re-fining a third of its population
A third of Chile’s 19 million inhabitants will be completely reconfigured from Thursday, despite the rapid progress of the vaccination campaign in this country at the forefront in Latin America in the fight against Covid-19.