The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, India's drug regulator, is set to approve on Friday a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University for emergency use, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Meanwhile, the US continues to stumble through the pandemic as thousands die every day. Russian Federation had already been administering its Sputnik V vaccine.
"We are testing whether our vaccine can also neutralise this variant, and will soon know more", he said. "This is going to be the greatest operational challenge we've ever faced as a nation".
A spokesman said: "We have sufficient doses to maintain our vaccination programme as it continues to accelerate, and are working closely with Pfizer to ensure vaccines keep arriving into the UK".
With the first doses being administered, Proffit said the public health office is receiving lots of phone calls from people with questions about the vaccine and those in second tier priority groups asking to be put on some type of list to receive the vaccine.
In a written statement, Pfizer said its vials contain enough vaccine for at least five doses and the amount remaining can vary depending on the type of needles and syringes used. According to the Oxford vaccine group, the newly authorized vaccine is "stable, easily manufactured, transported and stored at domestic fridge temperature", which means it is "able to be deployed very rapidly". It was the first vaccine candidate to have been authorised by the country to combat the spread of Covid-19, which has taken more than 2.90 lakh American lives.
As a result, British officials have made a decision to give a first dose of vaccine to as many people as possible to offer some level of protection to the public. That's different from BioNTech and Pfizer's messenger-RNA approach, which transforms the body's own cells into vaccine-making factories.
The latest official figures show that just under 950,000 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been given out, more than the initial shipment of 800,000 doses announced in early December, although the supply available in the United Kingdom for use today is unknown. Vaccine providers that are not equipped to store the Pfizer vaccine will only be eligible to receive the Moderna vaccine.
"This is a very positive step towards ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines", said Mariangela Simao, a top World Health Organization official tasked with ensuring access to medicines. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has an average effectiveness of 70 percent, but could reach up to 90 percent. "We will be producing around 300 million doses by July 2021", he added.
A total of 44 million people, or 78% of the population of England, are now living under the toughest Tier 4 measures and it emerged on Thursday that scientists advising the Government said in a meeting on December 22 it was "highly unlikely" measures comparable to the November circuit break would bring the R rate below 1.