Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has said wealthier countries are being “too slow” in moving unused vaccine doses to poorer countries.
The ex-Labour leader said it is “only the leaders of the G20” who can decide their unused vaccines should be “moved out as quickly as possible to save lives and to avoid waste”.
PA Media quote his appearance on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, where he said:
The problem is we’re being too slow and we’re holding back when we know we’ve got these unused vaccines. We should be getting them out as quickly as possible.
There’s an urgency about saving lives and there’s also an urgency about preventing these vaccines passing their use-by date and I don’t think the British government has yet realised the urgency of the problem and of the need in the poorest countries.
There have been 245 million cases of Covid, there are going to be 200 million more if we don’t get the vaccines out there as quickly as possible.
The Ukrainian health ministry has issued its latest coronavirus numbers, and the country has recorded another record daily high of 26,870 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, exceeding the previous high of 26,071 a day earlier. There were 648 official deaths. The ministry also said there 5,463 hospital admissions in the last day.
Yesterday the mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko announced that the country’s capital would be imposing new restrictions from 1 November up to the limits of his powers, and called on the national government to take further measures. The Ukrinform news agency reports him saying:
The situation with the spread of coronavirus in the capital is rapidly deteriorating. The number of hospitalisations and patients in need of oxygen support is increasing.
The new measures mean people will have to present a Covid vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test before they can access indoor activities in the capital.
Malaysia has said it will proceed with the procurement of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children, following a US panel’s recommendation for the shot to be authorised for those aged 5 to 11.
The US Food and Drug Administration voted on Tuesday to recommend the authorisation, saying the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Twitter other options, such as the vaccine made by China’s Sinovac BioTech, would also be considered to ensure schools can reopen safely.
About 62% of teenagers aged between 12 and 17 in the Southeast Asian country are fully vaccinated, government statistics show.
Australia’s vaccination campaign has taken an icy trip to the shores of the Antarctic.
An Airbus A319 arrived in Wilkins Aerodrome on Thursday evening with a cargo of Pfizer vaccines for 27 expeditioners at the Casey research station, minister for the environment Sussan Ley said in a press release on Friday.
“The exercise was a reminder of the isolation Australia’s Antarctic Expeditioners face each year and the detailed planning that is in place to support their well-being,” Ley said.
“As the Antarctic season looms and as expeditioners prepare to head home, it is important that they can join the national surge in Covid-19 vaccinations.”
Ley said the delivery required “months of careful planning” and the vaccines had to be stored at the right temperature from their arrival in Hobart, their delivery to the plane, the flight to Antarctica and then the four-hour journey across the ice to the station in a frozen container.
A syringe shortfall threatens Africa Covid vaccine drive as the continent struggles to inoculate people against the virus.
The United Nation’s fund for children (UNICEF) is predicting an “imminent shortfall” of up to 2.2 billion of the single-use syringes for Covid vaccination.
“Limited access to crucial commodities such as syringes may slow the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Africa,” WHO Africa said, referencing UNICEF’s dire prediction.
“Early next year, Covid-19 vaccines will start pouring into Africa, but a scarcity of syringes could paralyse progress,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said.
“Drastic measures must be taken to boost syringe production, fast.”
Unless there is a significant acceleration, only five African countries, or below 10 percent, will reach the target of 40 percent of populations vaccinated by the end of the year, the WHO said.
These countries – Seychelles, Mauritius, Morocco, which have already reached this target, as well as Tunisia and Cape Verde – together account for just 51 million of the continent’s 1.2 billion population.
Hi and welcome back to our daily Covid blog.
I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you the top headlines from across the world.
First up, it’s good news for a group of researchers working from Australia’s Casey Station in Antarctica today.
Pfizer vaccines have finally arrived for 27 staff, federal environment minister Sussan Ley announced on Friday. Vaccines will also be delivered to its Davis and Mawson research stations.
Officials in South Korea have also announced restrictions will begin to ease from next week.
“Beginning November 1, our community will take the first step of resuming our normal life,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said. “However, we must be aware that this doesn’t mean the fight against coronavirus is over, but a new beginning.”
Here’s a rundown of what else you might have missed.