Britain locks down again as hopes pinned on vaccines

Britain locks down again as hopes pinned on vaccines

An 82-year-old retired maintenance manager became the first person in the world to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.

The UK has secured 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as part of its contract - enough for most of the population.

With the virus still raging across much of the world, and the threat of a strain that could be up to 70 percent more contagious, experts differ on whether it is best to respect the two-dose protocols of the clinical trials or to postpone the second jab so more people can get the first one quickly.

SPAIN The central health authority will continue to recommend administering two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the period indicated by its manufacturers, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

Mr Hancock had earlier said: "This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this terrible virus and I hope it provides renewed hope to everybody that the end of this pandemic is in sight".

Professor Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and who holds the role of Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said receiving the vaccine was "an incredibly proud moment".

In a shift from practices in the United States and elsewhere, Britain plans to administer patients second doses of both vaccines within 12 weeks of the first shot rather than within 21 days, to accelerate immunisations across as many people as quickly as possible.

"As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than any time since the start of the pandemic", Johnson said in a televised address to the country.

"There have been a couple of glitches, that's understandable", top USA expert Anthony Fauci said, adding it was a challenge "trying to get a massive vaccine program started and getting off on the right foot".

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved for mass use in over-16s.

Together with Argentina, it also has an agreement with the British drugs giant to produce its vaccine to supply to Latin American nations.

Mexico's health regulator Cofepris has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday.

'The nurses, doctors and staff today have all been brilliant and I can now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife, Shirley, later this year'. Volunteers all over the United Kingdom willing to donate their time & expertise to help with vaccinations have expressed frustration at the amount of paperwork and extra requirements being demanded by the NHS.

"Our health care heroes are not only working to vaccinate critical health care personnel, but they are caring for patients who are overwhelming hospitals", Pennsylvania Health Department spokeswoman Rachel Kostelac told The Washington Times.

The UK entered a new nationwide lockdown on Monday, in order to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, which set a new record for infections on Dec 29 when more than 80,000 people tested positive.

For the next six weeks, the public may leave the home only to shop for necessities, go to work, exercise in their local area, seek medical help and attend education or child care if authorized.

Some 30,000 workers, about a quarter of what was planned in the first stage, had received the vaccine by Sunday, according to the government.

How many vaccine doses are there?

DENMARK Denmark has approved an interval of up to six weeks between the first and second Pfizer/BioNTech shots, in line with European Union guidance.

"I'm very pleased that I've got the Oxford vaccine, very pleased".

This is the vaccine backed by government from the start.

Last week, Moncef Slaoui, the head of the federal vaccine task force Operation Warp Speed, said the government was pushing back its approval for the AtraZeneca shot by at least two months, to April, given lingering concerns over the vaccine.

"We can see the way ahead in terms of a route forward, we can see how we can get out of this". A process which usually takes years has been condensed to months.

Elsewhere, American officials on Sunday rejected claims by outgoing President Donald Trump that the country's death toll of more than 350,000 was exaggerated, as they defended the stumbling rollout of vaccines in the world's worst-hit nation.