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CORONA VIRUS

Zimbabwe Approves Four COVID-19 Vaccines, Two From China

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Zimbabwe has approved four COVID-19 vaccines, as the second phase of the country’s vaccination program kicks in.

Apart from the Sinopharm vaccine from China, which is currently in use following the launch of the first phase of the vaccination program two weeks ago, the government, through the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, has also approved the use of Sinovac, also from China, Covaxin from India and Sputnik V from Russia.
With the second phase of the vaccination program having been approved, the government has also urged companies intending to buy vaccines for their employees to procure only those that are registered in the country, the state-run Herald newspaper reported Thursday.
The first phase, which covered those in the frontline, was undertaken following a donation by the Chinese government of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, while the second phase will target vulnerable groups, among them people with chronic diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis and diabetes.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said 34,400 people were vaccinated countrywide in the first two weeks of the rollout program.
Progress made in the initial stages had prompted the Cabinet to approve the second stage, the Herald newspaper quoted the official as saying.
All those intending to procure vaccines for their employees must procure only registered vaccines in Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will be purchasing the vaccines on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.
“Cabinet would also like to unveil the guidelines for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by the private sector in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Following wide-ranging consultations with the private sector, all approved vaccines would be procured through the National Vaccine Procurement Fund managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

“Organizations, individuals and any partners wishing to donate towards vaccine procurement will do so to the President through the fund. Donations received and pledges made to date will be announced,” she said.

Mutsvangwa said those interested in buying vaccines for their workers would deposit their funds into the National Vaccine Procurement Fund after approval by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

The National Vaccine Procurement Fund will procure on behalf of the organizations guided by the national procurement guidelines.

To ensure safety and efficacy, vaccines shall be kept at the Central Vaccines Stores under the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Cold Chain guidelines shall apply.

Only trained and registered health professionals shall be authorized to administer vaccines, and only the Ministry of Health and Child Care shall be responsible for issuing all COVID-19 vaccination certificates, Mutsvangwa stressed.

“All vaccines administered at private institutions will be transported by the Ministry of Health and Child Care medical staff under guard by the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” she added.
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CORONA VIRUS

Rwanda Takes Covid Vaccination To Bus Terminals, Schools

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In Rwanda the vaccination team is most likely to find you wherever you are as the country pushes harder to hit the 93% rate.

“Two weeks ago we struggled to cross 93% Covid-19 vaccination rate among 18 years old and above in Kigali!,” says Dr. Daniel Ngamije the Minister of Health.

According to Dr. Daniel Ngamije the Vaccination steering committee has decided a catch-up plan strategy! “Meet clients near Bus stations in Kigali,”he said on Thursday.

long queues at bus terminals were seen on Thursday as travelers and busy city dwellers waited to get the Covid vaccination jab.

“People are attending in big numbers ,i just passed near Kimironko bus station and the crowd was huge, much respect to our government  for doing such incredible work,” said JP via twitter.

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CORONA VIRUS

Pfizer Accused Of Bullying Governments Worldwide In COVID-19 Vaccine Contracts

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U.S. multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation, Pfizer, has been bullying governments around the world in COVID-19 vaccine contracts, said a recent report.

“The contracts offer a rare glimpse into the power one pharmaceutical corporation has gained to silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk and maximize profits in the worst public health crisis in a century,” said the report published in late October by Washington-based non-profit, progressive consumer rights advocacy group and think tank Public Citizen.

Citing six examples, the report pointed out that Pfizer not only reserves the right to silence governments, tightly controls vaccine donations, and uses anyone’s intellectual property it pleases largely without consequence, but also bypasses domestic legal processes by empowering private arbitrators to decide disputes in secret, enables itself to go after state assets, and enjoys unilateral authority for key decisions.

“Pfizer’s dominance over sovereign countries poses fundamental challenges to the pandemic response,” the report noted, adding the corporation’s demands have been slowing purchase agreements and even pushing back the delivery schedule of vaccines.

“Public health should come first,” it said, urging governments worldwide to push back.

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CORONA VIRUS

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Antibody Cocktail 80% Effective

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AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 antibody cocktail was more than 80% successful at both preventing symptomatic disease and stopping the virus from worsening, trials show.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca says a groundbreaking Covid antibody shot for people who do not respond well to vaccines is more than 80% effective over six months.

The injected therapy, called AZD7442 or Evusheld, was found to provide 83 per cent protection, the company said in a statement.

It is hoped the treatment can provide protection to people who vaccines are less likely to be effective for – around two per cent of the world’s population.

The encouraging results were found despite the surge in the Delta variant during trials, researchers said.

These include those this blood cancers, patients on dialysis, and those on immunosuppressive drugs for conditions including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In a statement released this morning, the drug company said there had been no cases or serious illness among people given the drug in a six-month trial.

The Anglo-Swedish company also said a separate study in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 showed a higher dose of AZD7442 cut the risk of symptoms worsening by 88 per cent when given within three days of first symptoms.

More than three quarters of people who took part in the company’s PROVENT trial were at high risk from Covid-19.

There were no cases of severe illness or death from Coronavirus among people given the drug, although in the placebo arm – people who were instead given a harmless saline injection – there were five severe cases and two Covid deaths.

A total of 5,197 people in the US, UK, Spain, France and Belgium took part in the trial, with two thirds given the antibody treatment.

Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at University College London, UK and AZD7442 principal investigator, said: “These compelling results give me confidence that this long-acting antibody combination can provide my vulnerable patients with the long-lasting protection they urgently need to finally return to their everyday lives.

“Importantly, six months of protection was maintained despite the surge of the Delta variant among these high-risk participants who may not respond adequately to vaccination.”

“These new data add to the growing body of evidence supporting AZD7442’s potential to make a significant difference in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19,” Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos said in a statement.

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