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US hopes to start virus vaccines in December

US Hopes to Start Virus Vaccines in December

WASHINGTON – The United States hopes to start coronavirus vaccination in early December, a senior government health official said on Sunday, the latest positive news is emerging even as cases pour in in the worst-affected country and elsewhere in the world.
The start of vaccinations could be a crucial change in the battle against a virus that has claimed more than 1.4 million deaths worldwide, including 255,000 in the United States alone.
Two leading vaccine candidates – one from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech and the other from US company Moderna – have been shown to be 95% effective in trials, and Pfizer has already sought approval from health authorities American for emergency use.
“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to vaccination sites within 24 hours of approval” by the United States Food and Drug Administration, Moncef Slaoui, head of the virus vaccination effort, told CNN from the US government, indicating the possible dates of December 11-12.
FDA vaccine advisers will meet on December 10 to discuss approval.
Slaoui estimated that 20 million people across the United States could be vaccinated in December, with 30 million per month thereafter.
But top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci, who said “maybe 20 million people will be able to get vaccinated by mid-December,” warned the situation could get worse before it improves if people do not take precautions ahead of holiday season.
“We are in a very difficult situation on all levels,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation”.
With cases surpassing 12 million in the United States, the highest in the world, many Americans were nonetheless heading to airports to travel for this week’s Thanksgiving holiday, despite warnings from health officials to stay home.
However, G20 countries were pushing for “equitable” global access to vaccines, fearing that the poorest countries would be left behind.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said more needs to be done as no major vaccine deals have yet been reached for the poorest countries.
“We will now speak with (the global vaccine alliance group) GAVI as to when these negotiations will begin because I am concerned that nothing has been done about it yet,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday after a virtual G20 summit organized by Saudi Arabia.
There are signs that restrictions in some countries are helping to slow infections.
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, whose country has been hit hard by the pandemic, said on Sunday that an infection control strategy was working.
Spain declared a state of emergency last month, which allowed regional governments to impose viral restrictions such as nighttime curfews.
The country has recorded fewer than 400 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks, up from nearly 530 cases at the start of the month, he said at a press conference of the G20 summit.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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