As countries scramble to get stocks of vaccines for their citizens and ensure that the process starts early, few countries have been quick off the block in approving emergency authorization of Coivid19 vaccines for its citizens.
After United Kingdom began vaccinating its citizens against Covid 19 last week, the Mexican government’s medical safety commission approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, making Mexico the fourth country to do so. The United States of America followed suit with the final go-ahead Friday to the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, marking what could be the beginning of the end of an outbreak that has killed nearly 3 lakh Americans.
Vaccination for health workers and nursing home residents are expected to begin in the coming days after the Food and Drug Administration authorised an emergency rollout of what promises to be a strongly protective vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech.
Initial doses are scarce and rationed as the U.S. joins Britain and several other countries in scrambling to vaccinate as many people as possible ahead of a long, grim winter. It will take months to tame the coronavirus.
On the other hand, Mexico’s approval came on Friday after Britain, Canada and Bahrain. Mexico is set to receive 250,000 doses of the vaccine, enough for 125,000 people, because each person requires two shots and front-line health workers will get the shots first.
Vaccinations are expected to begin as soon as next week. The initial rounds of shots are not nearly enough for Mexico’s coronavirus cases Friday, for a total of 12 lakh 29 thousand infections during the pandemic.
While the FDA decision in United States came only after public review of data from a huge ongoing study, it has also been dogged by intense political pressure from the Trump administration, which has accused the agency of being too slow to get the vaccines from lab to the market. President Trump had an ambitious plans to roll out the Vaccine before the Nov 3rd election deadline. That boast of Trump never happened.
The move sets off what will be the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history – but it also has global ramifications because it’s a role model to many other countries facing the same decision.
The world desperately needs multiple vaccines for enough to go around, and the Pfizer-BioNTech shot is the first based on rigorous scientific testing to emerge from that worldwide race — a record-setting scientific achievement that shaved years off the usual process.
The U.S. is considering a second vaccine, made by Moderna Inc., that could roll out in another week. In early January, Johnson & Johnson expects to learn if its vaccine is working in final testing.
Europe is set to make its own decision on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots later this month, an important step as some other candidates that multiple countries were anxiously awaiting have hit roadblocks. Friday, Sanofi and GSK announced a months-long delay after early tests showed their vaccine didn’t work well enough in older adults. And China and Russia didn’t wait for final-stage tests before beginning vaccinations with some homegrown shots.
India on the other hand is getting ready for a roll, which to a large extent depends on the efficacy reports of the stage of Phase 3 trials being conducted by Pune based Serum Institute of India and Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech. Two more vaccine candidates from Zydus Cadilla from Pune and Dr Reddy’s and Biological E Ltd from Hyderabad are also like to be rolled quickly after their Phase 3 trials are completed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the research and production facilities of three Indian companies last month. One particular concern is the Col Chain that needs to be in place to transport and administer the Vaccine. Hospital majors like Apollo Hospitals have announced that they are ready to vaccinate millions in their facilities. The Indian Govt has also asked state to draw up a list of those who are supposed to get the vaccine shots on priority.