Coronavirus – Vaccination in the crosshairs in the face of the explosion of the pandemic

From Europe to the United States, countries are preparing for vaccination campaigns, but restrictions are not weakening in the face of a rampant pandemic.

Image d’illustration.

AFP

In the United States, from New York to Seattle, states and metropolises have reintroduced restrictions in recent days in an attempt to stop the outbreak of the epidemic. The number of cases recorded in the country, the most bereaved in the world, now exceeds 11 million, with more than 247,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

President-elect Joe Biden estimated that if Donald Trump – who still does not admit losing the presidential election – refuses with his government to coordinate with the Democratic team, “it is possible that more people will die” from the Covid- 19, citing in particular the urgency of preparing the distribution of vaccines as soon as they are available.

The announcement Monday by the American biotech company Moderna of a vaccine effective at 94.5%, after that last week by the American laboratories Pfizer and German BioNTech of a 90% effectiveness, sparked a new wave of optimism in the world.

Pfizer ready to apply for authorization

In the United States, the two vaccines could be authorized by the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) in the first half of December, said Monday Moncef Slaoui, scientific manager of Operation Warp Speed, set up by Donald Trump to vaccinate the American population.

This would make it possible to vaccinate 20 million Americans, in priority probably the oldest and at risk, from the second half of December, according to him, then 25 million people per month from January. The boss of Moderna, the French Stéphane Bancel, told AFP that “already several million doses” of vaccines intended for Americans had been manufactured in the United States.

For his part, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer confirmed Tuesday that an application for marketing authorization for his vaccine would be filed very soon in the United States. “We are very close to filing an emergency authorization request,” he said at a conference organized by the Statnews site. He has not confirmed or denied that this will happen this week but previously he had said the request would likely be made in the third week of November.

For Europe, on the other hand, “advanced discussions” were announced with the European Commission on August 24 for the purchase of 80 million doses, but no firm commitment has been signed since. He warned the Europeans that this “delay” could slow down deliveries, other countries having priority because they signed for months.

“In the starting blocks”

In France, “collective efforts are starting to bear fruit” and “the epidemic is slowing down,” said Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon, even if the bar of two million confirmed cases was exceeded on Tuesday.

The government “is getting into the starting blocks to be ready to distribute a vaccine against Covid-19” from January if it is validated, assured its spokesperson Gabriel Attal on Tuesday. In the country, 437 new cases were recorded on Tuesday, for a total death toll of at least 46,273 since the start of the epidemic.

In Belgium, the government has announced its intention to treat at least 70% of the country’s population with future vaccines and to guarantee that they are free “for every citizen”.

In the meantime, restrictive measures continue in Europe, where more than 15 million cases have been officially recorded, although the spread of the pandemic seems to be stalling in most countries.

Austria began a second lockdown on Tuesday, with the closure of schools and non-essential stores and a call to stay at home until December 6, two weeks after the implementation of a partial lockdown that did not allow curb the epidemic. The number of cases has jumped in Austria, approaching 10,000 daily infections last week for a country of 8.9 million people.

Tuesday, if the shopping streets were neglected around the masterful Saint-Etienne Cathedral, many ventured outside in a mild autumn weather. “We’re more relaxed this time,” Monika Vass told AFP, while sipping take-out coffee in the center of Vienna.

Record of deaths in Russia

In Germany, where a sharp rise in infections has been observed for several weeks, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the Germans to reduce contact to the strict minimum.

In Italy, where more than 500 daily deaths from Covid-19 are recorded, health authorities said Tuesday they had inspected more than 230 retirement homes and nursing homes, and identified 37 in violation. A jump in contagions has been observed since early November in this type of establishment.

Russia on Tuesday recorded a new record of daily deaths with 442 deaths, the epidemic worsening in regions where examples of overwhelmed hospitals or full morgues are increasing. Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the countries of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) to unite to produce Russian vaccines en masse, without detailing the commercial conditions of such a proposal.

Alongside the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, Russia claims 92% efficacy for its Sputnik V vaccine, currently in phase 3 clinical trials.

The pandemic has killed at least 1,328,048 people around the world since the end of December, according to a report drawn up by AFP on Tuesday.

AFP/NXP

Posted today at 04:49

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