The World Health Organization warned today, Monday, that herd immunity against Covid-19 will not occur this year, despite the start of the distribution of vaccines in several countries.
“We will not reach herd immunity in 2021,” said the scientific officer of the organization Somaya Swaminathan from Geneva, stressing the importance of continuing to apply protection measures such as social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks to control the epidemic.
In a related context, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today that Britain is experiencing a difficult moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and added that there is a shortage of oxygen in some areas.
Seven vaccination centers opened in the UK today, while the government plans to vaccinate around 15 million people by mid-February to start lifting the third lockdown measures within a year.
Today, the German Biontech group suggested that it would be able to manufacture “two billion doses” of the emerging coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2021 in order to meet the global demand for the vaccine, in a number higher than the previously mentioned (1.3 billion).
The American Pfizer Group, involved in producing a vaccine, reached this new estimate after adopting a “new standard” allowing 6 doses to be given from each bottle instead of 5, according to a document published on its website.
Biontech is also counting on “expanding its existing facilities”, including the expected February operation of a new European production site in Marburg, Germany.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the vaccination with the Corona vaccine in the country will begin Thursday or Friday, indicating that the government will gradually raise Corona measures with the decrease in infections below a certain limit, as it did previously.
India, the second most affected country by the epidemic after the United States with more than 10 million infections, is scheduled to start a vaccination campaign on Saturday, aiming to vaccinate 300 million people out of 1.3 billion by July.
In this context, Russia announced Monday that 1.5 million people around the world have received the “Sputnik-V” vaccine, which it has developed against the emerging corona virus, and the Kremlin has made it a tool to enhance geopolitical influence. It also intends to develop a “reduced” version that requires only one dose but is effective. Less.
Kirill Dmitriev, director general of the Russian Sovereign Fund that financed the making of Sputnik-V, said that the “watered-down” version aims to secure “an effective temporary solution for several countries that have reached the height of the epidemic, and seek to save as many lives as possible.”
Extended closure and curfew
While waiting for the acceleration of vaccination campaigns that criticize their slowness, governments, as is the case in France and Sweden, tighten measures to reduce friction and contact despite the risk of slowing the economy further.
In France, 8 new provinces have extended the curfew, to the dismay of food companies, and thus joined 15 provinces that did so at the end of last week.
And in Russia, the health authorities announced on Sunday the discovery of the first infection with the mutated Corona virus circulating in Britain, in a person returning from the United Kingdom.
In Mexico, the state government of Tamaulipas said that it had detected the first similar case in a traveler who arrived on a flight from Mexico City.
As for Portugal, where the spread of the epidemic has reached record levels, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that the country “will announce something very similar to the first lockdown in March” during the next cabinet session on Wednesday.
The acceleration of the spread of the epidemic in Sweden has forced the country to change its policy, which has so far remained less stringent than anywhere else. Since Sunday, strict measures have been imposed, including the closure of stores and restaurants in certain areas.
On Monday, Lebanon declared a state of health emergency after recording record rates of new infections with the new Corona virus during the last week, taking more stringent measures with regard to the general closure, on top of which is a curfew for about two weeks and a reduction in passenger traffic through Beirut airport.