Pandemic: vaccination is failing, record contaminations in India

Distrust of the AstraZeneca vaccine and supply problems are driving the vaccination campaigns against the coronavirus, which continues its deadly progression, especially in India with a record of contaminations.

On Thursday, several countries announced to limit injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine the day after reports confirming a link with rare but serious cases of blood clots: the Philippines suspended its use for those under 60, Australia for the less 50 years old.

Already the day before, Italy and Spain had chosen caution, announcing that the Anglo-Swedish laboratory’s vaccine was reserved for over 60s, while Belgium now intends it for over 55s and the United Kingdom for over 60s. 30 years old.

The region of Castile and Leon, in northwestern Spain, has completely suspended its use, as has Denmark, while several other countries in the European Union have already decided to no longer administer this vaccine. below a certain age, such as France and Germany.

AstraZeneca vaccine and blood disorders (AFP – Alain BOMMENEL)

These decisions were taken despite the call of the European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides to the 27 Member States of the EU to “speak with one voice”, in order not to nourish the mistrust against this vaccine on which Brussels counts to carry out his campaign, lagging behind the United States or the British neighbor.

– Germany discusses Sputnik V –

Germany announced Thursday that it wanted to discuss possible deliveries of its Covid-19 Sputnik V vaccine with Moscow, without waiting for the green light from Brussels.

“I explained on behalf of Germany to the EU Council of Health Ministers, that we would discuss bilaterally with Russia, first of all to find out when and what quantities could be delivered,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn, according to whom the European Commission refuses to negotiate on behalf of the Twenty-Seven the purchase of Sputnik V.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton was very reserved on the usefulness for the EU to resort to Chinese or Russian vaccines, believing that they will not help the EU “to achieve (its) immunity objective (of population) by summer 2021 “.

The EU is not alone in worrying about the failures of its campaign: Australia failed to meet its target of four million doses administered (it is at one million) while Indonesia has denounced Thursday delays in the delivery of more than 100 million doses of AstraZeneca, due in particular to export restrictions observed by India.

The latter country, which is home to the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world (SII), has decided to prioritize the immunization of its own population, while it is experiencing a record of contaminations. More than 126,000 new infections have been recorded in the past 24 hours. However, only 87 million doses have been administered so far for a population of 1.3 billion inhabitants and according to local media, several states are facing a shortage of serum, such as Maharashtra where the megalopolis Bombay is located.

Vaccination with a dose of AstraZeneca in Mumbai on April 8, 2021. (AFP - INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)

Vaccination with a dose of AstraZeneca in Mumbai on April 8, 2021. (AFP – INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)

The state’s health minister warned on Wednesday that stocks could run out within three days. “We have to tell people that since the vaccines have not arrived, they have to go home,” Rajesh Tope said.

At least 708.4 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines have been administered worldwide, according to a count made Thursday by AFP from official sources.

– Inequalities of access –

But strong inequalities remain between “high income” countries as defined by the World Bank, which concentrate almost half of the doses administered, and “low income” countries, where only 0.1% of the doses were administered. .

Africa remains “on the margins”, with only “2% of vaccines administered in the world,” lamented Thursday the director for Africa of the World Health Organization (WHO) Matshidiso Moeti. Amnesty International has denounced the “virtual monopoly” of rich countries on vaccines in the face of a pandemic which has claimed more than 2.89 million deaths worldwide, according to an AFP report.

In the United States, vaccination “is in full swing,” said President Joe Biden, assuring that from April 19 all American adults would be eligible.

The most bereaved country with nearly 560,000 dead, the United States has more than three million daily injections on average over the last seven days.

However, the number of daily infections has started to increase again and remains at a very high level (more than 74,000 new cases on Wednesday).

Countries such as Argentina, India, Qatar, Cuba and Tunisia have announced a strengthening of the restrictions in force in the hope of halting the increase in contamination. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, will be reconfigured from Thursday.

In Brazil, more than 4,000 people died from Covid-19 on Tuesday and more than 3,800 on Wednesday.

The reference institute in public health Fiocruz estimated Tuesday “absolutely necessary” the confinement to cope with the saturation of hospitals. But far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has ruled it out.

Poland announced 954 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, a daily record. Iran has crossed the threshold of two million confirmed cases.

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