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Brazil and Russia launched their national vaccination campaigns against covid 19 on Monday as several countries accelerate theirs in a race in which some 40 million people around the world have already received their first doses.
While the emergence of more contagious strains of the coronavirus worries governments, restrictions are multiplying in parallel with vaccination, which is looking very uneven.
As of this Monday, an AFP count shows that at least 60 countries or territories, which represent 61% of the planet’s population, began to immunize their inhabitants. However, eleven countries account for 60% of the injected doses.
This was denounced by the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for whom the world would have a “catastrophic moral failure” if rich countries monopolize vaccines to the detriment of poor countries.
Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic and which accumulates some 210,000 deaths, launched its national vaccination campaign two days ahead of schedule due to pressure from state governors and, especially from Sao Paulo, which began to vaccinate on Sunday.
In Rio de Janeiro, proportionally the most affected state in Brazil, vaccination began at the foot of the emblematic statue of Christ the Redeemer. Cariocas will begin to receive the first dose of the Chinese CoronaVac, one of the two authorized by Brazil, together with the British one from AstraZeneca.
In the state of Amazonas, hit by a second wave that caused an increase in deaths due to lack of oxygen in hospitals, vaccination should begin on Tuesday.
Chile, which has received three shipments of the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine, launched immunization of the general population on the day, with priority for those over 80 and chronically ill. Vaccinations had begun on December 24 for personnel affected to care for critical places.
The launch of the campaign in Brazil comes at a time when Latin America and the Caribbean exceeded 550,000 deaths as a result of the new coronavirus, according to a balance established by AFP this Monday from official sources.
The region is the second worst hit in number of deaths behind Europe (660,429).
– Russia on the move –
Russia, where the vaccination of teachers and health personnel took its first steps in December, began a mass vaccination on Monday in the hope of curbing the coronavirus without re-implementing new confinement orders.
“They announced that we could get vaccinated without prior registration. So I came right away, said Valeri Krivteski, 36, who was lining up at a center set up in a luxurious store on Moscow’s Red Square.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin ordered that the entire population (146 million people) have access to the national Sputnik V vaccine. In the press, Russian experts questioned the ability of the authorities to distribute the vaccine in places far from the centers. urban.
Vaccination was also expanded in France, where the pandemic does not relent and caused the government to advance the curfew to 18 hours throughout the country.
Until now reserved for people considered a priority, including residents of nursing homes or health personnel, the injections were extended this Monday to those over 75 years old.
The UK, hit by a strain of the virus that is up to 70% more contagious, experts say, decided to rush its vaccination campaign on Monday.
Now it has been extended to those over 70 years old and the authorities force those who arrive from abroad to present a negative test for covid 19 and then undergo a quarantine.
– Indian reluctance –
India, which began its campaign on Saturday and hopes to vaccinate about 300 million people by July, is seeking to persuade the vaccine’s reliability because a third of the people called to receive the first dose did not show up.
Waiting for the vaccines to work, governments continue to impose restrictions.
Australia announced that it considers keeping foreign access closed throughout the year.
Meanwhile, the United States will maintain travel restrictions to much of Europe and Brazil, said future White House spokeswoman Joe Biden, contradicting a measure that outgoing President Donald Trump had just announced.
– China and WHO accused of slowness –
China, where the virus appeared at the end of 2019, confined another three million people in the northeast of its territory on Monday, after having found new infected.
Beijing and the WHO are highly criticized for the spread of the disease that has already caused 2.03 million deaths worldwide.
An independent expert report to be presented to the WHO on Tuesday notes that “it is clear that Chinese national and local authorities may have taken more aggressive public health measures in January” 2020.
He adds that “it is not clear why (the WHO) did not meet before the third week of January, or why it could not immediately agree to launch an international public health emergency declaration.”
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