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Germany Approves AstraZeneca For Over-65s

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Germany’s vaccine commission has on Thursday approved the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab in people aged over 65.

The European country’s health minister Jens Spahn said the move was “good news for older people who are waiting for an injection”.

Experts believes the latest move is a step that should help accelerate the country’s faltering inoculation drive.

Moreover, the Vaccination Commission said in a statement issued via the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases that people who have recovered from COVID-19 should receive a single dose of the AstraZeneca shot six months after their diagnosis.

Previously, Germany only approved the vaccine for only under-65s, citing insufficient data on its effects on older people.

That led to public scepticism about its effectiveness, with some Germans spurning it and leaving many doses unused.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said recent studies had now provided enough data to approve it for all ages.

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WHO, Africa CDC Urge African Nations To Keep Expired COVID Vaccines

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Africa CDC

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) have urged African countries not to destroy COVID-19 vaccines that have expired.  Many countries on the continent got AstraZeneca vaccines through the U.N. facilitated Covax scheme for their campaigns.

Now, the W.H.O. says countries whose stocks might have expired should hold on to the stock and wait for further guidance. The Africa CDC says it has spoken to the manufacturer and has been reassured that the vaccines are still safe.

Reports say many vaccines can be used up to 36 months after manufacture, but because COVID-19 jabs are new, there is not enough data to prove their effectiveness over longer periods.

The call came after Malawi and South Sudan said they would discard more than 70,000 doses of the AstraZeneca jabs that were out of date.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa has been slow, partly because of supply issues and skepticism about the jab.

Out of 55 African countries, 41 have benefitted from the delivery of vaccines via the global-sharing scheme Covax. Seven are yet to receive their first batch.

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Lagos Shuts All COVID-19 Vaccination Centres

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Lagos has closed all COVID-19 vaccination centers across the state, after vaccinating more than a quarter of a million persons, completing the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.  That makes Lagos the only state that has inoculated more than 200,000 residents during this period.

Authorities say the first vaccination exercise ended on tuesday and all vaccination centres have been shut down.  Lagos State received from the federal government half a million of the nearly four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to Nigeria.

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, had advised states to stop vaccination after administering half of the doses supplied to them.  This is to ensure those who had already received the first dose would be able to get the second jab.

Lagos health commissioner, Professor Akin Abayomi says the remaining doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been reserved at the Lagos State cold chain store for the 2nd dose exercise, starting from late next month.

He urged Lagosians who have already received the first jab to keep their next appointment dates for their second dose at the same health facilities where they got the first jab.

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Disruption In Oxygen Supply Kills Many COVID Patients In India

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Twenty-two COVID-19 patients on ventilators have on Wednesday died in a hospital in western India after a disruption in the supply of medical oxygen caused by a leak.

According to Reuters news agency quoting the Nashik district’s collector, Suraj Mandhar said an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in the city, halting its supply for about half an hour before it later resumed for nearly 150 other patients in the hospital.

Media reports said all the victims were on ventilators and in need of constant oxygen supply in the hospital dedicated for COVID-19 patients.

Fire officer Sanjay Bairagi said the leak was halted by the fire service within 15 minutes, but there was supply disruption in the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, a city in Maharashtra state that is the worst hit by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

Television images showed white fumes spreading in the hospital area, causing panic.

Surinder Sonone, a police officer, said the leak occurred in a pipe connecting the oxygen supply to the main tank in the hospital complex.

India with the second highest confirmed cases of COVID-19 behind the United States has reported more than 15.6 million infections as the total number of fatalities stood at 182,553.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state government has ordered an investigation into what caused the leak.

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