June 13, 2021

Washington will give 500 million vaccines to the poorest countries, WHO is alarmed by the level of vaccination in Europe

The novel coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 3.7 million lives worldwide since the World Health Organization (WHO) office in China reported the onset of the disease in late December 2019, according to a report drawn up by Agence France-Presse from official sources on Thursday 10 June at 12 noon.

More than 174 million cases of infection have been officially diagnosed since the start of the epidemic. The vast majority of patients recover, but a still poorly evaluated part retains symptoms for weeks or even months. The figures are based on reports communicated daily by the health authorities in each country. They exclude the revisions carried out a posteriori by certain statistical organizations, which conclude with a much higher number of deaths.

The WHO even estimates, taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, that the results of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than that officially recorded. One of the poorest and most populous states in the Indian federation, the state of Bihar, on Wednesday revised the total number of deaths attributed to the virus upwards, from 5,424 to 9,429. A discovery that raises fears of a much higher toll in one of the countries most seriously affected by the pandemic.

  • US to donate 500 million doses of vaccine

“This is the largest vaccine order and donation made by a single country”, Washington rejoiced. In a press release Thursday, the White House confirmed the purchase by the United States of 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine against Covid-19, in order to donate them to countries in need.

Washington has come under heavy criticism in recent months for delaying sharing its vaccines with the rest of the world. With nearly 64% of American adults having now received at least one dose, the White House is now trying to take the lead on this issue. These vaccines will be distributed “To 92 countries” disadvantaged through the Covax program, set up to ensure an equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. They will be sent from August; 200 million doses delivered by the end of the year.

The other 300 million will be delivered by June 2022, the White House said. All of these doses will be produced in American factories. ” It’s about (…) a commitment by the American people to contribute to the protection of populations around the world against Covid-19 ”, underlined Washington, by qualifying this announcement, which had leaked, Wednesday, in several American media, of“Historic action”.

United States President Joe Biden is due to make the announcement while on the road to the UK, his first overseas as head of state. The Democratic leader, who strives to demonstrate that “The United States is back” on the international scene, will participate in the weekend of the Group of Seven (G7) in Cornwall, where the management of the pandemic will be one of the priority topics of discussion.

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“We need 250 million more doses by September and 100 million doses in June and July alone”, said Monday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, before the announcement of Mr. Biden.

Read also: Vaccines, treatments, tests … The gap between rich and poor countries risks prolonging the Covid-19 pandemic
  • The level of vaccination in Europe “far from sufficient”

The level of vaccination in Europe is insufficient to prevent a resurgence of the pandemic, the European branch of the WHO warned on Thursday, also calling to avoid ” the mistake “ of the increase in cases during the summer of 2020. “The way to go to achieve coverage of at least 80% of the adult population is still considerable”, said WHO’s European director, Hans Kluge, during an online press conference, calling for maintaining hygiene and distancing measures and avoiding travel abroad.

In the 53 territories of the European region according to WHO criteria, 30% of the region’s population has received a first dose of vaccine and 17% are fully vaccinated. While the situation across the region has improved with a drop in cases and deaths over the past two months and the recent easing of restrictions, “We are far from being out of danger”, he insisted.

For the first time since the fall of 2020, the weekly death toll in the European area fell below 10,000 last week, according to WHO Europe. But the precedent of the past year requires vigilance, pointed out its director. “Over the past summer, cases gradually increased in younger age groups and then moved to older age groups, contributing to a devastating resurgence, lockdowns and deaths,” in the fall and in the winter ”, recalled the Belgian doctor.

  • Moderna wants to vaccinate adolescents over 12 in the United States

Moderna announced on Thursday that it had requested authorization to use its vaccine against Covid-19 in adolescents from 12 years old across the Atlantic. Moderna’s vaccine is already given to adults in the United States, but also in the European Union (EU) and Canada.

The company has already requested authorization for use in adolescents from the European and Canadian authorities. Results of a clinical study of 3,732 adolescents published last month showed that this vaccine, which is administered in two doses, was effective in 12-17 year olds, without new or serious side effects.

The United States already authorizes the vaccine of Pfizer-BioNTech in adolescents from 12 years old. The vaccine has also been authorized for 12-15 year olds in the European Union since May 28. In France, vaccination for 12-18 year olds will be open from June 15.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters