Makinde Takes COVID-19 Booster Shot, Flags Off Mass Vaccination In Oyo

Governor Makinde is calling for calm in the wake of the attacks.

 

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has received a COVID-19 booster shot to further protect himself against COVID-19.

While flagging off the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign held at the Aleshinloye Market in Ibadan, he called on the people of the state to take advantage of the free service to get vaccinated.

“Well, we are here to flag off the mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Oyo State,” Makinde said. “It is close to two years now when the first case was reported in Nigeria and it subsequently hit us in the state.

“The majority of the people think it would vanish in three or four months but it is now close to two years that we have been battling with it.”

He explained that the flag-off was another logical step taken by the state to curtail the spread of COVID-19, noting that the step was based on data and the scientific position that vaccines were safe in protecting people against the worst effects of the virus.

The governor appreciated the frontline workers, who, according to him, have been working tirelessly for nearly two years, to curtail the virus in the state, assuring them that the government will continue to support them with the resources needed to get the job done.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have known that this will be with us for a very long time. I heard the Speaker saying that maybe by this time next year, we would be celebrating a COVID-19-free environment; well, there is nothing God cannot do. But you see, science, logic, and data are still saying that this virus is going to be with us for some time.

“The first flu, the Spanish flu that first occurred in 1916 is still around till now and it is still with us. We only have slight symptoms like sneezing, cold and so on but that flu is a very serious disease in other places. The prayer we should continue to say is that this infection will not claim our lives,” he said.

Makinde called on the people of the state to get vaccinated and give themselves and their loved ones another layer of protection against COVID-19.

He also called on residents who have been fully vaccinated to take the booster shot and always observe COVID-19 safety precautions.

AFCON: Vaccination And COVID-19 Test Required For Fans

File photo: A healthcare worker fills a syringe with Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a community vaccination event. Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

 

Supporters attending matches at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon will be required to show proof of vaccination and present a negative Covid-19 test result, officials announced Thursday.

The announcement was made in a joint statement signed by Cameroon’s ministers for sport and health as well as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) general secretary, and comes at a time of growing speculation the tournament could be cancelled or postponed again.

“Fans will not be able to get into the stadiums… unless they are fully vaccinated and show a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours or a negative antigen test of less than 24 hours,” the document said.

“Despite this additional challenge posed by this pandemic, our Cup of Nations must now take place,” it added.

The opening ceremony for the 24-team competition is due to be held at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde on January 9 ahead of the first game between hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso.

The final is scheduled for the same venue on February 6.

Time To ‘Think About Mandatory Vaccination’, Says EU Chief

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen reacts as she attends a meeting with chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency Zeljko Komsic (unseen) and member of the presidency Sefik Dzaferovic (unseen), in Sarajevo, on September 30, 2021. (Photo by ELVIS BARUKCIC / AFP)

 

It is time for the European Union to “think about mandatory vaccination” against Covid, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday, while stressing member state governments would decide.

“My personal position is… I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now,” she told a media conference, underlining that a third of the EU population of 450 million was still unvaccinated.

“How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union? This needs discussion. This needs a common approach. But it is a discussion that I think has to be led,” she said.

Several EU countries have already taken steps in that direction.

Austria has announced compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations from February 1 next year and Germany is mulling following suit.

READ ALSO: International Migration Rose Despite COVID-19 Curbs, Says UN

Greece on Tuesday said jabs would be mandatory for over-60s, while France has said Covid passes would be deactivated for all adults who have not had booster shots six months after their last jab, starting January 15.

Von der Leyen also said that the EU’s main Covid vaccine provider, BioNTech/Pfizer, would have jabs available for children in the bloc in two weeks’ time.

She said she had spoken with the German-US joint venture about the issue the day before, and they said “they are able to accelerate — in other words children’s vaccines will be available as of December 13.”

She noted that “if you look at the numbers we have now, 77 percent of the adults in the European Union vaccinated, or if you take the whole population, it’s 66 percent — and this means one-third of the European population is not vaccinated, these are 150 million people”.

The EU’s vaccination drive is very uneven across the 27-nation bloc.

Portugal, Malta, Spain, Italy, Ireland, France and Belgium have all vaccinated more than three-quarters of their populations, while eastern member states Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Croatia all have jabbed less than half.

“We have the vaccines, the life-saving vaccines, but they are not being used adequately everywhere,” von der Leyen said.

While the European Commission pre-purchased Covid vaccines for use in the EU, von der Leyen emphasised that the individual countries had the responsibility on how their vaccination programmes were done.

Lagos Outlines Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Plans

FILE PHOTO: Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr Shuaib Faisal COVID-19 vaccine exercise in Lagos State.

 

The Lagos State Government says a robust vaccination strategy has been established to ensure four million residents of the state are fully vaccinated before the end of December 2021.

The state Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday explained that the mass vaccination is important to prevent a fourth wave of the deadly Coronavirus in the state.

“The Lagos State Government has developed a robust vaccination strategy leveraging on both the strengths of the public and private sectors of our healthcare system with a full understanding that a substantial proportion of the population will need to be vaccinated to mitigate the impact of the fourth wave in Lagos and reduce the impact of the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus and prevent the re-emergence of the catastrophes witnessed during the previous waves.

READ ALSO: SERAP Urges Court To Stop Buhari From Spending N26bn On Travels, Meals, Others

“This strategy dubbed ‘Count Me In! 4 million Lagosians Vaccinated Against COVID-19’ is aimed at targeting the full vaccination of four million Lagos residents before the end of December 2021; and was launched by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu alongside the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, in a side event of the 7th African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity which focused on Vaccine strategies,” the statement read in part.

The Commissioner said once this is achieved, it will bring the State closer to the state governor’s mandate to vaccinate 30% of the Lagos population within one year which started in August of 2021.

“This is a concerted effort to achieve the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target of vaccinating 40% of the world before the end of this year. Lagos thus far has only been able to fully vaccinate just under 3% of its population,” Abayomi added.

He stressed that a partnership between public and private companies is essential to achieve the goal.

Abayomi said the State Government, through the Primary Health Care Board, does not have the capacity alone to ramp up vaccination to this massive level in such a short time and before the deadline, hence the need to include the private sector.

“The public-private partnership is similar to the strategy deployed for escalating COVID-19 testing which resulted in a dramatic increase in testing done in Lagos from an average of 200 a day to over 2,000 a day culminating in a total of 800,000 tests in less than a year and Lagos State accounting for more than 30% alone of all COVID-19 PCR tests done in Nigeria.

“This demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships, with the inclusion of the significant capacity of the private sector but government retaining strict regulatory oversight and quality function.

“With this approach, we intend to ramp up our vaccination strategy using the existing public facilities as well as the inclusion of some private facilities. It is imperative to emphasize that the vaccines administered in public facilities is free and would remain free to the public as they were contributed to us by the Federal Government and our donor partners, those wishing to receive the vaccines can go to any of the designated 206 government facilities and receive their dose totally free of charge.”

The Commissioner said those that wish to receive the vaccines within the comforts of a private facility can do so “at a minimal administrative cost of N6,000 for two doses which cover the cost that the private sector will incur to facilitate the administration of the vaccine which includes logistics, personnel, quality oversight, administrative and overhead costs. The cost will be proportionally lower for single-dose or those wishing to take a single booster dose.”

He said no one is compelled to receive their vaccines at any private facility as the vaccines in both are of the same quality and brand.

“The decision to leverage the private sector is based solely on our resolve to include private health facilities and corporate institutions as additional sites for the COVID-19 vaccination administration.

“This is in furtherance of the effort to increase the reach and access to the available vaccines provided through the generous contributions and donations by the Federal Government and our donors,” he added.

Those that require their vaccination at any of the public facilities should visit the national platform at https://publicreg.vaccination.gov.ng to register and schedule their vaccination or register on arrival at any of the 206 public sites.

Those requiring vaccination at any selected private facilities should please, in addition, visit https://lagosvaccine.com to book and pay for their vaccination, either before or after registering on the national platform.

Jigawa Cholera Outbreak: Over 500 Persons Dead In Four Months

A screenshot from a video showing patients and relatives at the entrance of the General Hospital, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State.

 

Over 500 people have been confirmed dead within four months, following the outbreak of Cholera in Jigawa State, Northwest Nigeria.

Despite this, authorities say the state has continued to record a spike in the number of cases with over 20,000 cases confirmed so far.

Twenty-two of the 27 local government areas in Jigawa are said to be battling cases of cholera.

The state capital Dutse, as well as Birninkudu and Hadejia, are the worst hit by the outbreak.

The Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Agency in the state, Kabir Ibrahim, assured residents that the government was already making efforts to curb the disturbing number of infections.

READ ALSO: Obiano Signs Anti-Open Grazing Bill Into Law, Orders Immediate Enforcement

He gave the assurance on Friday while addressing journalists in Dutse, saying the state has rolled out vaccines for 720 people in three of the most affected local councils.

“We have received over 1.4 million doses (of vaccine) from the Federal Government through the World Health Organisation (WHO),” said Ibrahim. “Everyone from the age of one to adulthood are qualified to take this vaccine.

“For now, we are targeting the three local governments that are worst hit. Each recipient is entitled to two doses separated by four weeks.

“We are targeting 720 persons for the first dose and another 720 persons for the second dose which will be separated by four weeks.”

He urged residents to cooperate with the government’s effort in curtailing the disease and to maintain proper hygiene.

According to the World Health Organisation, researchers have estimated that each year, there are 1.3 to four million cases of cholera and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths are recorded.

WHO also said most of those infected had no or mild symptoms and can be successfully treated with oral rehydration solution.

The provision of safe water and sanitation is critical to prevent and control the transmission of cholera and other waterborne diseases, experts say.

Liverpool Boss Klopp Compares Anti-Vax Movement To Drink Driving

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp speaks to the media after the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Liverpool at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on April 19, 2021. LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said people should get vaccinated against coronavirus for the same reason they should not drink and drive, as he revealed his squad are “99 per cent” vaccinated.

Take-up of the vaccine has been mixed among elite athletes, with reports last week suggesting only seven of the 20 Premier League clubs have over 50 per cent of their squads fully vaccinated.

Klopp said that has not been an issue at Liverpool, where he has not had to convince his players to get jabbed.

“I can say we have 99 percent vaccinated,” said Klopp.

“I didn’t have to convince the players, it was more a natural decision from the team. I can’t remember talking to a player and explaining to him why he should because I am not a doctor.”

And he offered a withering analogy for those holding out against getting vaccinated due to personal choice.

“It’s a little bit like drink driving. We probably all had a situation where we had a beer or two and thought ‘I could still drive’, but under the law, we are not allowed to drive.

“The law is not there to protect me when I’ve had two beers and want to drive, it is there to protect all the other people because I am drunk and want to drive a car.

“With the vaccination, all the specialists out there tell us the vaccination is the solution for the situation at the moment. It is the same. I don’t take the vaccination only to protect myself but to protect all the people around me.

“I don’t understand how that is a limitation of freedom, because if it is then not being allowed to drink and drive is a limitation of freedom as well, but we accept that.”

Klopp, 54, said he had consulted doctors he trusted before taking the vaccine.

“Where did I get the knowledge from that I think it makes sense to get the vaccination? I called doctors who I have known for years,” he added.

“I took the vaccination obviously because I am in the age group where it is not that easy anymore, otherwise it could be tricky.”

AFP

Biden Gets COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 27: U.S. President Joe Biden receives a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the South Court Auditorium in the White House September 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President Joe Biden received a Covid-19 vaccine booster on Monday and told Americans still resisting the shots that they are damaging the country.

Biden rolled up his left sleeve in the White House and got a third Pfizer dose in line with the recently approved health guidance, which allows boosters for those 65 or older.

“I know it doesn’t look like it, but I am over 65,” Biden, 78, joked.

Also eligible for boosters are adults with high-risk medical conditions and those in jobs where they are frequently exposed to the virus.

But the problem, Biden said, is that a significant chunk of Americans continue to refuse even one shot of the vaccine, fueling a deadly nationwide surge of the Delta variant.

Biden said 77 percent of Americans had got vaccines but this wasn’t enough, with still nearly a quarter refusing.

READ ALSO: Over 3.5 Million Pfizer Vaccines Expected From US Govt – FG

“That distinct minority is causing an awful lot of us, an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country,” Biden said.

“Please do the right thing,” he said.

Biden received his first Pfizer dose last December and a second in January, when he was still president-elect.

About 60 million people in the United States are eligible for a Pfizer booster shot, Biden said last week.

He said people who have received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccinations could get boosters once studies have been completed and he expected that all Americans would be eligible “in the near term.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday that data on Moderna and J&J boosters would be evaluated “in the coming weeks.”

AFP

COVID-19: Edo Govt Workers Without Vaccination Cards Barred From Offices

 

It was not business as usual on Wednesday in Edo State as civil servants who failed to show a COVID-19 Vaccination card were barred from entering their offices.

This followed the announcement by the State Government on Tuesday that it will begin enforcing the ‘no-vaccination-no-work’ policy.

“We have trained special teams and these special teams will be spread across the 18 local governments of Edo State.

“What we are going to do tomorrow is to allow those who have the authentic vaccination card, access to their government working places and those without, can go back and work from home and government will know how to deal with that,” the Head of the COVID-19 Enforcement Team in the state, Haruna Yusuf, said at a briefing on Tuesday.

 

Government workers in Edo State were greeted with the ‘no-card-no-entry’ banner on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, as the state government begins taking stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This comes amid speculations that the state government is working towards making vaccination compulsory for all residents.

However, Governor Godwin Obaseki in a statement last week described the reports as an “obvious misconception”.

He had given residents up to the second week of September to get a vaccine or risk being barred from public places such as banks, receptions, churches and mosques.

 

A security man checks in a worker at the entrance on September 15, 2021.

 

So far, Edo State has recorded 6,008 COVID-19 cases.

It has also recorded the second-highest death toll in the country (215) – justifying talks about the ‘compulsory vaccination’, as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Below is a breakdown of the COVID-19 cases across Nigeria.

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Lagos75,3242,31072,350664
FCT21,01269920,134179
Rivers11,55782610,583148
Kaduna9,381919,22268
Plateau9,255649,13061
Oyo8,5717347,650187
Edo6,0085715,222215
Ogun5,336645,19379
Ondo4,3464063,85783
Akwa Ibom4,2366403,55442
Kano4,136533,971112
Kwara3,7084423,20759
Delta3,2125712,55685
Osun2,818342,69985
Enugu2,6751122,53429
Nasarawa2,426422,34539
Gombe2,334462,24345
Katsina2,214502,12935
Anambra2,173972,05719
Ebonyi2,059242,00332
Abia1,880501,80525
Imo1,784951,65039
Ekiti1,6583011,33225
Bauchi1,568131,53817
Benue1,512701,41824
Borno1,34401,30638
Bayelsa1,1611271,00727
Adamawa1,155251,09832
Taraba1,074361,01424
Niger1,0016791420
Sokoto796276628
Jigawa5731254516
Cross River5531451821
Yobe50124909
Kebbi458943316
Zamfara25322438
Kogi5032

 

Two Nigerian States Try Out COVID Vaccine Passes

A health worker holds a vaccine tube and a syringe as Nigeria commences the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination on August 16, 2021. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Two states, Edo and Ondo, are trying to introduce COVID-19 vaccine passes for access to public places and gatherings, in a bid to increase vaccination rates.

Health passes or vaccine passports, required for entry to places like restaurants, gyms and cinemas, are already in place in some European countries though they have triggered protests in France, Greece and Italy as unfair to the unvaccinated.

Introducing similar measures in Nigeria will be complicated in a country that has received less than 10 million vaccines for a population of more than 210 million people.

Southern Nigeria Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki last week gave residents up to the second week of September to get a vaccine or risk being barred from some places, including banks, receptions, churches and mosques.

“We have made adequate arrangements with security agencies to prevent anybody who doesn’t have vaccination cards from accessing any of these places,” Obaseki said.

Nigerians have so far been hesitant about taking the vaccine. As of Monday, only 2.8 million people had received a first dose, according to the agency in charge of the roll-out, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

“We would like to encourage governors to continue to provide leadership in the mobilisation of citizens to prioritise the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine,” NPHCDA director Faisal Shuaib said.

“We are particularly enthused by the example shown by the Governor of Edo State,” he added.

Another state in southern Nigeria, Ondo, has also given residents two weeks to take the shots.

“Evidence of vaccination will be the condition to access public places, churches, mosques,” information commissioner Donald Ojogo told local media.

Nigeria Records 655 New COVID-19 Cases, Five More Deaths

In this photo taken on August 16, 2021, a health official holds a vaccine tube and a syringe as Nigeria commences the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Nigeria has recorded 655 fresh cases of the COVID-19, with five more persons dead.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this in its daily report on Tuesday.

The 655 new cases were reported from nine states – Lagos (288), Rivers (188), Oyo (64), Akwa Ibom (31), FCT (28), Ekiti (21), Edo (17), Bayelsa (11), and Kaduna (7).

With the latest figures, the total confirmed cases in the country have now risen to 188,243 while 169,035 have been discharged and 2281 have died.

In the wake of a fresh spike in COVID-19 infections and a looming 3rd wave, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday announced that over 1,000 returning travellers from red-listed countries – India, South Africa, Brazil, and Turkey – have absconded from isolation in the state.

He raised the alarm while giving an update on how the government is working to curb the spread of the disease in Lagos which has been the epicentre of the virus in the country.


Confirmed Cases by State

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Lagos71,13312,10158,561471
FCT20,44735319,920174
Rivers9,7021,2738,310119
Kaduna9,212199,12766
Plateau9,135229,05558
Oyo7,8935627,173158
Ogun5,1862214,89174
Edo5,1501404,820190
Kano4,03683,918110
Ondo3,8732803,52370
Akwa Ibom3,7707353,00332
Kwara3,4412723,11257
Delta2,8261952,55675
Osun2,673282,57372
Enugu2,540102,50129
Nasarawa2,413292,34539
Gombe2,235342,15744
Katsina2,164292,10035
Ebonyi2,047122,00332
Anambra2,043561,96819
Abia1,79181,76023
Imo1,697141,64538
Bauchi1,55321,53417
Benue1,407561,32724
Borno1,34411,30538
Ekiti1,3382501,07315
Adamawa1,13661,09832
Taraba1,059301,00524
Bayelsa1,0025692026
Niger9643091420
Sokoto794476228
Jigawa5622552116
Yobe50124909
Cross River4701543421
Kebbi4504239216
Zamfara25172368
Kogi5032

He revealed that a total of 1,073 inbound passengers out of 88,847 who arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport between May 8 and August 21 – have tested positive.

Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that as of Saturday, the state has identified 5,998 of the returning travellers and successfully isolated 4,500 people who arrived from the red-listed countries, while 1,094 have absconded.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus across the country, the Federal Government is now set to begin the rollout of the second dose of vaccines.

Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed during a briefing on Tuesday that those who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will begin to receive the second dose from Wednesday.

Shuaib also asked persons aged 18 years and above who have yet to be vaccinated to visit any of the sites to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

New COVID-19 Rules Spark France Vaccination Rush And Online Backlash

In this file photo taken on August 26, 2020 French President Emmanuel Macron, wearing a face mask, looks on as he waits for Senegal's President to arrive for their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Ludovic Marin / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 26, 2020 French President Emmanuel Macron, wearing a face mask, looks on as he waits for Senegal’s President to arrive for their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Ludovic Marin / AFP

 

A record number of French people booked appointments for Covid-19 jabs after President Emmanuel Macron announced restrictions on the unvaccinated, including mandatory tests to enter restaurants.

The head of the main website to book vaccination appointments said traffic was at an all-time high following Macron’s televised speech on Monday night.

“We recorded 20,000 appointments per minute, an absolute record since the start of the campaign, and it’s continued during the night and into this morning,” Doctolib boss Stanislas Niox-Chateau told BFMTV.

A total of 926,000 people had booked a jab on the site, with 65 percent of them under 35, he added.

Macron announced that from August anyone wanting to go out to eat or drink, take a long-distance train or visit a shopping centre would need to show a “health pass”, which means either proof of vaccination or a negative test.

The pass will also be needed to attend a festival, a theatre show or a cinema screening as part of the government’s strategy to tackle the surging number of new cases linked to the Delta variant.

Free Covid tests will end in September “to encourage vaccination instead of taking many tests”, Macron added in the speech watched by 22 million people.

The head of state also announced mandatory vaccinations for healthcare staff, retirement home workers and others working with vulnerable people from September, in line with similar moves in Greece, Italy and Britain.

– Objections –

The measures sparked fierce criticism by some on social media, with the French word for dictatorship — #Dictature — trending on Twitter amid accusations the government has introduced mandatory vaccination by stealth.

Some objected on the grounds that the health pass infringed on the personal liberty to choose to get vaccinated or not, while anti-vaxxers pushed conspiracy theories about the links between the government and pharmaceutical companies.

A tweet from Macron from December 2020 in which he said “the vaccine will not be obligatory” was also shared.

READ ALSO: Thailand Defends COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Mix-And-Match’ After WHO Warning

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen criticised the government for making vaccinations mandatory for healthcare staff, who will not be paid after September 15 if they are not jabbed.

“We applauded them at 8pm, considered them our daily heroes, always there despite their low salaries and difficult working conditions,” she wrote on Twitter. “Now they’re being made to feel guilty and threatened with not being paid, with indecent brutality.”

Jocelyn Bouyssy, the head of the CGR Cinemas group, told Franceinfo radio that he was “very angry” about the health pass which would be difficult to implement and dissuade people from going out to watch a film.

“We’re like lambs being led to the slaughter,” he said.

Health Minister Olivier Veran insisted that the health pass was “not a punishment, it’s not blackmail”.

“You can carry on working without being vaccinated, taking your children to school without being vaccinated,” he told RMC radio.

He said the choice was between accepting the new measures, which primarily affect the unvaccinated, or heading for a fourth lockdown, which would hit the whole country.

“We want to avoid a lockdown at all costs,” he said.

The number of new cases has been rising sharply in France to more than 4,000 in recent days because of the more infectious Delta variant.

Around 35.5 million people — just over half of France’s population — have received at least one vaccine dose so far, but the rate of injections has slowed in recent weeks.

At the start of the pandemic, France had some of the highest levels of vaccine scepticism in the developed world.

AFP

COVID-19: Death Toll In US Surpasses 600,000 – Johns Hopkins

In this file photo taken on May 21, 2020 Worker move a coffin with the body of a COVID-19 victim out of a refrigerated container.
Ernesto BENAVIDES / AFP

 

The death toll in the US from the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday surpassed 600,000 according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, with President Joe Biden mourning the latest “sad milestone” and urging Americans to press on with vaccinations.

The United States has racked up by far the largest death toll of the pandemic, ahead of Brazil and India.

“There’s still too many lives being lost,” Biden said, noting that the daily number of dead has dropped sharply since the peak of the pandemic but that the continuing loss of life was still “a real tragedy.”

“My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one,” Biden said, speaking on Monday in Brussels as the tally ticked close to 600,000.

“We have more work to do to beat this virus. And now’s not the time to let our guard down. Please get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The massive vaccination campaign has been pushed by US health authorities since the authorization of the first vaccines in December, and peaked in April, with up to more than four million shots a day.

But the pace has slowed rapidly since then, and unvaccinated people still remain vulnerable to the disease.

Just over 52 percent of the US population, or 174 million people, have already received at least one dose of one of the three vaccines authorized in the country, according to health officials.

Biden has set a goal of 70 percent of adults to have received at least one shot by the national holiday of July 4, but the program may fall short of that goal.