Two days after the United States recorded more than 3,000 deaths from coronavirus, the highest total in a single day anywhere in the world, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has on Friday issued an emergency authorization to use the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
The agency’s chief scientist, Denise Hinton wrote in a letter to a Pfizer executive “I am authorizing the emergency use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID‑19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.”
On Thursday, medical experts advising the FDA recommended the emergency-use approval. A 23-member panel concluded the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks hence paving the way for the first Americans to be immunized in the coming days.
The Pfizer vaccine has approval in the UK, Canada, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as experts hope the vaccine will help get the pandemic under control.
In the US, more than 15.8 million have been infected with the virus with more than 292,000 deaths recorded.
The FDA said the vaccine can be given to people aged 16 and older. Healthcare workers and elderly people in long-term care facilities are expected to be the main recipients of a first round of 2.9 million doses.
NCDC Confirms 1301 New COVID-19 Cases, 15 Deaths
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control has confirmed thirteen hundred and one new cases of the coronavirus across the country on Tuesday, spanning twenty-two states.
Lagos gobbled up nearly half of all the new cases with five hundred fifty-one. The Federal Capital Territory recorded 209, while Oyo posted eighty-three. Plateau, Kaduna and Enugu had sixty-five, sixty-four and sixty-one respectively. Eleven other states had cases in double digits. Five reported single digits.
NCDC says seven hundred and two infected persons had recovered in Lagos State, one hundred fifty-seven in the FCT, and one hundred forty-three in plateau state.
Ninety-one thousand of all cases have been discharged.
Nigeria Requests 10 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses From African Union
Nigeria’s minister of health Osagie Ehanire says the country has requested 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the African Union (AU). Ehanire told a media briefing in the capital Abuja, the vaccines are expected to be delivered in March.
The au said last week, it had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers around the world for distribution across the continent.
Ehanire also said the Nigerian government has released 26 million dollars to support domestic vaccine production and is already in talks with manufacturers.
113, 000 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Nigeria amid rising daily infections.
It’s not clear which of the covid-19 vaccines Nigeria will get, but authorities say the country was expecting its first 100,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of this month. They say there is plan to vaccinate 40% of the Nigerian population of about by the end of this year.
UK’s New COVID-19 Strain Reported In At Least 60 Countries – WHO
The World Health Organization has on Wednesday said the faster-spreading coronavirus variant been found in the United Kingdom is now in at least 60 countries, 10 more compared with a week ago.
WHO said in its weekly update that the South African strain, 501Y.V2, which like the United Kingdom one is believed to be more infectious but does not appear deadlier, has now been reported in 23 countries and territories.
With the global death toll now well past two million, and new variants of the virus causing deep concern, countries across the world are grappling with how to slow infections until vaccines become widely available.
The UN’s health agency added that the number of new deaths climbed to a record high of 93,000 over the previous seven days, with 4.7 million new cases over the same period.
The UK strain, first detected in mid-December, is thought by the WHO to be between 50-70 percent more infectious than the original.