It is still not known whether people vaccinated against Covid-19 can still transmit the coronavirus, the head of the EU’s medicine regulator told MEPs on Tuesday.
There are also concerns about whether vaccines developed last year will be effective against new mutations of the coronavirus strain now circulating the globe.
But preliminary indications are that the vaccines in use so far in the European Union — by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna — “will continue to be effective against at least the UK variant”, said Emer Cooke, executive director of the European Medicines Agency.
“I think the South African variant is more complicated, and we need additional work to determine the efficacy,” she added.
On possible post-vaccine immunity, she said clinical trial data did not look at transmission “but it is something that we’re asking the companies to look at”.
The comments, provided via videolink to the European Parliament, came as member countries begin to restrict travel to curb the variants’ propagation while hoping that vaccines might provide a solution.
Cooke also addressed delivery delays to the EU of doses from BioNTech-Pfizer and from AstraZeneca, which is poised to get authorisation by the end of this week.
While unable to shed light on the cause of the delay — something she said fell to the European Commission, which signed the purchase contracts with the firms — Cooke stressed the EMA “can work to help solve any type of manufacturing issues that do delay the supply.”
This could include helping to open of extra manufacturing sites.
She demurred on what authorisation the EMA might give the AstraZeneca vaccine when asked about German media reports — later denied by the German government — that the jab could be less effective in people over 75.
Some reports have suggested that the EMA may only approve the AstraZeneca jab for the under 55s.
“I’m not going to prejudge any decision because this is a scientific and expert discussion that is ongoing. But it it is possible to conclude an authorisation that would focus on a particular age group or it’s possible to conclude for a wider age group,” she said
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Threat Of COVID-19 Third Wave Real, Imminent In Africa – WHO
Representative of the World Health Organisation in Nigeria (WHO) Walter Kazadi has said that the threat of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was real and imminent in most African countries including Nigeria.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, Kazadi stated that adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures such as social distancing, regular washing of hands and coughing into bent elbows should be intensified.
He stressed the need for rapid distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and adherence to the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, recommended by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Also speaking at the press briefing, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Faisal Shuaib said Nigeria is set to receive 3.92 million additional doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX.
“We now have information that Nigeria will get 3.92 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca by the end of July or early August, 2021.
“As we receive additional information on the exact dates, we will provide an update regarding timelines and details,” Shuaib said.
Shuaib also urged Nigerians who had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to get the second dose on or before the close of its administration by June 25.
“Recall that we officially closed the vaccination for the first dose on May 24, 2021. Since then, we have been inundated with requests by Nigerians to be vaccinated. In response, we have decided to reopen vaccination for the first dose from today.
“This means anyone 18 years and above who has not been vaccinated should visit the nearest vaccination site for the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“For such persons, their second dose will be due in 12 weeks and by then we would have received the next consignment of vaccines.”
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Pfizer Identifies Counterfeit Covid-19 Vaccines In Mexico, Poland
US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has identified fake doses of its vaccine against Covid-19 in Mexico and Poland, Sputnik quoted The Wall Street Journal report.
In Mexico, some 80 people got fraudulent vaccines at a clinic for about US$1,000 (RM4,110) per dose. The doses also had fake labels.
In Poland, fake doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are likely to have been an anti-wrinkle medicine. The Polish authorities said that no one had received the fake vaccines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 143.48 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 3.05 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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BREAKING: AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Can Cause Unusual Blood Clot – EMA Affirms
The safety committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine can cause unusual blood clots with low blood platelets, but stresses the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing coronavirus outweigh the risks of side effects.
“EMA is reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within 2 weeks of vaccination,” the agency said in a statement Wednesday.
“So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within 2 weeks of vaccination. Based on the currently available evidence, specific risk factors have not been confirmed.”
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