Health News Roundup: South Korea to double syringe supplies for COVID-19; Mexico City plastic ban causes tampon concerns and more

South Korea to double syringe supplies for COVID-19 vaccine campaign South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Thursday visited a factory that can make 10 million syringes a month and plans to double capacity to prevent shortages as the nation rolls out its coronavirus vaccination campaign next week.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 18-02-2021 18:43 IST | Created: 18-02-2021 18:28 IST
Health News Roundup: South Korea to double syringe supplies for COVID-19; Mexico City plastic ban causes tampon concerns and more

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

South Korea to double syringe supplies for COVID-19 vaccine campaign

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Thursday visited a factory that can make 10 million syringes a month and plans to double capacity to prevent shortages as the nation rolls out its coronavirus vaccination campaign next week. South Korea will begin inoculating some 750,000 healthcare workers against COVID-19 on Feb. 26, as it struggles to tame its third and largest wave of outbreaks. It plans to reach herd immunity across its population of 52 million by November.

Mexico City plastic ban causes tampon concerns for women

In Mexico City, one of the world's biggest cities, a product that many women relied on as a monthly necessity is gradually disappearing from the shelves: tampons with plastic applicators. With a lifespan of nearly 150 years, the applicators join plastic bags, forks, cups, balloons and straws as single-use plastics that Mexico City has banned as it pushes forward with a greener agenda.

UK Black and South Asian groups lagging behind white people in COVID-19 vaccinations

Only 55% of Black people in England aged between 70 to 79 had been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Feb. 11, compared to 86% of white people in this age group, according to early research on England's coronavirus vaccination programme. Among people from South Asian backgrounds the figure stood at 73 percent, according to a study by OpenSafely, run by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Hong Kong approves China's Sinovac vaccine, rollout from Feb 26

Hong Kong has formally approved China's Sinovac vaccine for emergency use with the rollout starting on Feb. 26, the city's health secretary said on Thursday, paving the way for residents in the global financial hub to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Sophia Chan said the vaccine met the "safety, efficacy and quality requirements specified in Hong Kong emergency situations" and that the benefits outweighed the risks.

No jab, no job: Vatican gets tough with COVID anti-vaxxers

The Vatican has told employees that they may risk losing their jobs if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination without legitimate health reasons. A decree by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, effectively the governor of Vatican City, said getting a vaccine was "the responsible choice" because of the risk of harming other people.

Eli Lilly in deal with Rigel to develop autoimmune therapy for up to $960 million

Eli Lilly will gain exclusive worldwide license to Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc's autoimmune and inflammatory diseases treatment, including its lead candidate, R552, for potentially up to $960 million, the companies said on Thursday. Rigel will receive an upfront cash payment of $125 million, with the potential for an additional up to $835 million in milestone payments.

A year on, Italian doctor reflects on surviving COVID-19

Every time Francesco Tursi throws his six-month-old son Antonio into the air and catches him, he realises that he almost did not live to savour one of the simple joys of being a father. Last year on Feb. 21, the 47-year-old pulmonary disease specialist at Codogno hospital was thrust into the vortex of the coronavirus pandemic when a man from the town became the first person in Italy to test positive for the virus.

Africa COVID-19 deaths near 100,000 after second wave

Africa's total reported death toll from COVID-19 was approaching 100,000 on Thursday, a fraction of those reported on other continents but rising fast as a second wave of infections overwhelms hospitals. The continent's reported deaths, at 99,800, compare favourably with North America, which has registered more than half a million, and Europe, which is approaching 900,000, a Reuters tally shows.

India's Bharat Biotech pursues COVID-19 vaccine approval in over 40 countries

India's Bharat Biotech is in the process of filing regulatory documents for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, in more than 40 countries, the company told Reuters late on Wednesday. "We have submitted our documentation in Brazil and other countries and await their approval. We plan to export several million doses to Brazil," the company said in an emailed statement. "Pricing of COVAXIN for international markets will be based upon supply timelines, purchase commitments and procurement volumes," it added.

Researchers urge delaying Pfizer vaccine's second dose as first highly effective

The second dose of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine could be delayed in order to cover all priority groups as the first one is highly protective, two Canada-based researchers said in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The vaccine had an efficacy of 92.6% after the first dose, Danuta Skowronski and Gaston De Serres said, based on an analysis of the documents submitted by the drugmaker to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

(With inputs from agencies.)


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