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Vaccine rollout in New Year

作者:admin 2020-11-19

Vaccine rollout in New Year

University students wear masks depicting Italian politicians during a demonstration against the government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 outside the Parliament building in Rome, Italy on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Plans for vaccination programs began taking shape in Europe and the US following recent breakthroughs, as surging coronavirus case loads prompted grueling new restrictions, with Austria taking the unpopular step Tuesday of closing schools and shops.

Global hopes of vanquishing the coronavirus pandemic were high after US biotech firm Moderna said its vaccine candidate was nearly 95 percent effective in a trial, a week after similar results announced by pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci hailed the results, telling AFP that the data exceeded expectations. "The idea that we have a 94.5 percent effective vaccine is stunningly impressive," he said.

The US Food and Drug Agency may approve both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines early in December, according to Moncef Slaoui, head of the government's "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine quest.

He said that from January, 25 million people would be vaccinated per month.

France too said it was "getting on the starting blocks" for a vaccination program to launch in January pending French and EU regulatory approval, budgeting 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) for the rollout in 2021, according to spokesperson Gabriel Attal.

Curbs have returned in Europe - often in the face of protests. Tightened restrictions took effect Tuesday in Austria, with schools and shops shut until December 6.

The number of daily infections in the Alpine nation of 8.8 million people grew from 1,000 in early October to 5,984 on Tuesday.


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