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Covid-19 vaccine update: US approves Moderna candidate, Orissa prepares for inoculation drive – world news

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Countries around the globe are gearing up to vaccinate citizens against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The US on Friday approved its second vaccine candidate, Moderna, for emergency use. The European Medicines Agency too is on the final leg of its approval process and is expected to come out with a decision on the Moderna vaccine on January 6, according to Reuters. The global vaccine alliance COVAX saw its member country sign deals for vaccine procurement for emergency use. With the global caseload nearing 75 million the world is racing against time to immunize its population against a virus that has been wreaking havoc for more than a year now.

Here are the latest updates on the Covid-19 vaccine front:

1. US regulator Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval to the Moderna vaccine for emergency use. This is the second approval for an inoculation drive in the United States and the first for Moderna. Data released by Moderna on November 30 of the late-stage trial shows that the vaccine has an efficiency rate of 94.1%, according to Reuters. Both Canada and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are currently slated to come out with their approvals soon.

2. AstraZeneca has started the process of seeking emergency use authorization in Britain and India. According to the data published by the pharmaceutical giant of the late-stage trial, their vaccine has an efficacy rate of 70% and as much as 90% for a subgroup of trial participants who were given a half dose first, followed by a full dose, reported Reuters. India is currently conducting an accelerated review and has asked for more data.

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3. Colombia, which is a part of the COVAX alliance, has signed deals with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and AstraZeneca to provide 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, Reuters reported on Friday. The first group to be vaccinated will consist of healthcare workers, people over the age of 60, and those with pre-existing conditions, the country’s health minister said to Reuters. Colombia plans on providing free coronavirus vaccination for free under its national vaccination plan.

4. The Odisha government has completed its database collection for the first phase of Covid-19 inoculation, reported news agency ANI on Saturday. The government has identified 3.2 lakh healthcare workers who are eligible for emergency vaccination. They have also demarcated 8,267 vaccinators and 29,276 centres to help carry out the vaccination process. For storage purposes, the state has assessed a total of 1,222 cold chain points across the state and readied 1,796 Ice Lined Refrigerators (ILRs) for transportation and 1,771 deep freezers for safe transportation of the vaccine all across the state, ANI said.

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