By Tara Rippin • 23 January 2021 • 11:12
CREDIT: File Photo, EWN
Pfizer will provide up to 40 million of its Covid jabs to poorer countries at cost.
THE vaccines will be offered on a non-profit basis through the globally-pooled Covax effort which is co-led by WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, aims to ensure lower-income countries get shots too.
It is hoped the first deliveries will be shipped in February.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one so far to have received emergency use approval from the WHO.
In a virtual press conference, Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla said developing countries should have the “same access to vaccines as the rest of the world”.
“We will provide the vaccine to Covax for these countries on a not-for-profit basis,” he added.
Set up last year, Covax initially aimed to secure enough Covid-19 vaccines this year for the most vulnerable 20 per cent in 92 participating countries.
However, Doctors Without Borders said the 40 million doses offered to Covax by Pfizer were a drop in the ocean and a lamentable “pittance” compared to the direct deals it has struck with high-income countries.
“If the world is going to emerge from this pandemic, we absolutely must distribute these vaccines equitably, not based upon who can pay the most,” said Dana Gill of the medical charity in a statement.
Meanwhile, medics in the UK have been using narrower needles to squeeze extra doses of coronavirus vaccines out of vials, according to experts.
Using narrower needles with less space between the end of the syringe plunger and the start of the needle can cut wastage of the vaccine.
This can reportedly save a fifth less ‘dead space’ and save vaccine fluid over the course of a vial.
Head of immunisations at Public Health England (PHE), Dr Mary Ramsay, said an extra dose could be extracted from both the Pfizer BioNTech vials which come in five doses and the Oxford AstraZeneca doses which are distributed in eight or 10 doses.
This, she told a meeting of Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, could provide a notable “boost” to the UKs supplies, meaning more people could be vaccinated with each shipment.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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