U.S. lags behind some other countries in Covid-19 vaccinations

U.S. lags behind some other countries in Covid-19 vaccinations

A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of an AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020.

Ireland is expected to be in line for over 3 million doses of the Oxford vaccine if it's approved by European Union regulators.

Here are five facts about the much-anticipated vaccine.

Anna Marriot is Health Policy Manager at the aid group Oxfam.

The news comes as the country battles a huge surge in cases, including some caused by a new variant of the virus which is thought to spread more quickly. The new form has now been found in several countries, including the United States.

Taiwan has agreed to buy nearly 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, including 10 million from AstraZeneca Plc, the government said on Wednesday (Dec 30), adding that it had confirmed the island's first case of the new British variant of the disease. Each person requires two full doses, up to three months apart, for it to be effective.

The decision is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

The UK already approved the use earlier this month of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was developed by German scientists.

Britain will become the first nation to roll out the jab on January 4, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, amid mounting concerns that another unsafe spike in infections threatens to overwhelm the NHS.

"The government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for use", the United Kingdom health ministry said. The government says everyone will get a second shot within 12 weeks of the first. Previously, the agency had not recommended the shot for pregnant women.

"We are excited about the opportunity to begin vaccinating our senior population, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, as we continue to work every day to protect our community during this pandemic", said Dr. Paula Thaqi, director of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.

"Having studied evidence on both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines, the JCVI has advised the priority should be to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible", the spokesperson said. He is chair of policy and communications for Britain's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.

Pfizer responded to the new British policy by saying that any "alternative" dosing regimens should be tracked by health authorities. The company added it has no data to show that protection from one dose lasts longer than 21 days.

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