Covid-19: Vaccination drive lacks uniformity

As 2020 draws to a close, mass vaccinations against the contagion in some parts of the globe have either started or will start in earnest soon.

The unprecedented raging coronavirus () outbreak across the world — which has afflicted over 67 million people and claimed at least 1.5 million lives to date — has consigned 2020 as the one of the darkest years in the history of mankind.

Earlier in 2018, medieval scholar Michael McCormick had nominated 536 as “the worst year to be alive” because of the extreme weather events that were caused by a volcanic eruption.

The unusual weather phenomenon had caused average temperatures in Europe and China to decline. This had also resulted in crop failures and famine for well over a year.

As 2020 draws to a close, mass vaccinations against the contagion in some parts of the globe have either started or will start in earnest soon.

However, the vaccination drive lacks uniformity.

On Saturday, Russia started a mass vaccination campaign in Moscow and later will be conducted across the nation, but the vaccine, Sputnik V, is not fully tested.

Sputnik V is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and another is developed by Siberia’s Vector Institute.

But the final trials for both the Russian vaccines are yet to be completed.

In Moscow, vaccination is open to frontline workers, aged between 18 and 60, who face high risks of exposure.

They will also receive a booster dose after another three weeks.

Russia had drawn an all-round flak when it registered its Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use in August, before beginning a clinical trial to measure its efficacy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had boasted that it was the first vaccine in the world to receive government approval.

Be that as it may, the Sputnik V vaccine claimed an efficacy rate of 91.4 per cent based on the first 39 cases of in the trial, which translates to an insignificant figure.

Besides, Russians with chronic health conditions and pregnant women are barred from receiving the jab.

The United Kingdom (UK) will start its vaccination campaign on Tuesday (December 8).

While the United States of America (USA) is looking at rolling out a large-scale vaccination driveby the end of December.

Turkey, too, is making similar preparations. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been vaccinated in China, and thousands in the UAE in the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere.

Though China has five vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials, Beijing has been tight-lipped whether any of them are safe and effective.

The administration appears to be unconcerned about the efficacy quotient, as it braces for a nationwide vaccination programme.

China is planning to approve 600 million doses for sale by the end of this year.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com

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