Health News Roundup: Romania ships first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to Moldova; New Zealand's Auckland starts second COVID-19 lockdown this month and more

Mass vaccinations for Australia's 25 million people began on Monday after the arrival of a first batch of more than 142,000 doses of the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE vaccine. Thailand starts COVID-19 vaccination campaign Thailand kicked off its COVID-19 inoculation campaign on Sunday, with cabinet ministers, health officials and medical professionals among the first in the queue to receive vaccinations.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 28-02-2021 18:32 IST | Created: 28-02-2021 18:29 IST
Health News Roundup: Romania ships first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to Moldova; New Zealand's Auckland starts second COVID-19 lockdown this month and more
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Romania ships first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to Moldova

Romania shipped its first donation of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to neighbouring Moldova on Saturday to allow Moldova to start vaccinating frontline medical workers next week. Moldova and neighbouring Ukraine, two of Europe's poorest countries, have lagged behind the rest of the continent in the scramble for vaccines and welcomed donations from friendly governments.

New Zealand's Auckland starts second COVID-19 lockdown this month

Exactly a year after New Zealand recorded its first coronavirus case, the biggest city of Auckland woke on Sunday to a second lockdown this month, as authorities try to rein in a cluster of the more contagious UK variant. The seven-day lockdown of a population of nearly 2 million, announced late on Saturday by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was prompted by the case of a person who had been infectious for a week but not in isolation.

U.S. authorizes J&J's COVID-19 vaccine, making it third available

The U.S. government on Saturday authorized Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, enabling millions more Americans to be vaccinated in the coming weeks and setting the vaccine up for additional approvals around the world. The J&J vaccine is the third authorized in the United States, following ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, both of which require two doses.

Exclusive: Mexico's president expected to ask Biden to share U.S. vaccines, say sources

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is expected to ask President Joe Biden to consider sharing part of the U.S. coronavirus vaccine supply with its poorer southern neighbor when the two leaders hold a virtual summit on Monday, U.S. and Mexican officials said. Biden is open to discussing the matter as part of a broader regional effort to cooperate in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but will maintain as his "number one priority" the need to first vaccinate as many Americans as possible, a White House official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Russian scientists say Sputnik V performs well against COVID mutations

A Russian trial testing the effectiveness of revaccination with the Sputnik V shot to protect against new mutations of the coronavirus is producing strong results, researchers said on Saturday. Last month President Vladimir Putin ordered a review by March 15 of Russian-produced vaccines for their effectiveness against new variants spreading in different parts of the world.

Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive

Australia received 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine on Sunday, more than doubling the amount of all vaccines shipped to the country so far and allowing the government to ramp up its COVID-19 immunisation drive. Mass vaccinations for Australia's 25 million people began on Monday after the arrival of a first batch of more than 142,000 doses of the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE vaccine.

German states call for unused AstraZeneca vaccine to be given to younger people

Several German states called on Sunday for unused AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines to be given to younger people, as worries about side effects and efficacy, as well as a recommendation it be used only for under 65s, have meant low take-up of available doses. The German health ministry said this week it had administered only 15% of the AstraZeneca shots it has available, confirming concerns that Germans were being selective, slowing vaccination efforts.

All English households with school children offered twice weekly COVID tests

All households in England with school or college aged children will be offered two rapid COVID-19 tests per person per week to support the government's priority to get young people back in the classroom, the health ministry said on Sunday. Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a phased plan to end England's latest COVID-19 lockdown, offering a "cautious" approach to try to prevent a return to wholesale restrictions that have hobbled the economy.

Thailand starts COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Thailand kicked off its COVID-19 inoculation campaign on Sunday, with cabinet ministers, health officials and medical professionals among the first in the queue to receive vaccinations. The first doses of vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac Biotech, were given to Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who is also the health minister, among others at an infectious diseases institute on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Philippines receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccine, doses donated by China

The Philippines received on Sunday its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses in a shipment donated by China, a day before it was due to roll out a national inoculation campaign. President Rodrigo Duterte attended a ceremony to mark the arrival of the initial 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac, which were delivered by a Chinese military aircraft. The Philippines is due to receive another 25 million doses of CoronaVac in batches this year.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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