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COVID - 19 06 Apr, 2021 Follow News

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The UK continues to make impressive strides with its COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.

To date, over 31 million people have received their first dose with five million completing the full course with a second jab.

Most of the vaccines administered are the Pfizer-BioNTech brand with the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine now also being given.

The Moderna is next in line to be deployed following approval from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The MHRA is also assessing the Janssen and Novavax vaccine to add to the country's arsenal of vaccines.

UK health experts have said that with new variants of the virus being discovered, annual booster shots could become necessary as vaccines are adapted to the different strains.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca jab continues to be the subject of debate after some recipients were found to have developed blood clots.

Canada along with several European countries have placed restrictions on giving that vaccine to their senior citizens while further investigations are carried out.

In the UK where seven people have died after developing suspicious blood clots, the MHRA has said it was not clear if there were direct links to the vaccine, but has stressed that the overall benefits outweigh any risks.

COVID-19 deaths in the UK fell to 10 in a report on Saturday, the lowest since September last year.

In January this year, the UK experienced a daily peak of over 1,300 deaths attributed to the pandemic and the country was trending with the highest CVID-related death rates in Europe and among the highest globally.

The country’s vaccine roll-out has succeeded in suppressing the spread of the virus to the extent that many of the lockdown restrictions are being relaxed.

The government is now trialling a vaccine certificate system for access to selected sports events and nightclubs.

The UK and several other countries are also considering a vaccine passport for travel using a traffic light system of rating high-risk countries.

Meanwhile, in the US and EU concerns are mounting over rising cases amidst the likelihood of a fourth wave of the pandemic sweeping through several countries.

France, Germany, Italy and Spain have instituted further targeted lockdowns while in the US several states are seeing a spike in cases following a relaxation of restrictions.

In an emotional appeal, Dr Rachel Walensky, the director of the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) warned of “impending doom” as daily Covid-19 cases start spiralling again.

“I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she said. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared.”

Concerns are also mounting in Brazil where the country’s health system is said to be at risk of buckling under the strain of a worsening outbreak.

In the Caribbean, the Dutch territory of Curacao was reported to be facing a similar crisis with a steep rise in cases and deaths.

The Dutch government in The Netherlands has urged students and others holidaying on the island to return home as a precaution and to relieve the strain on the local health service.

The Hague is also sending additional supplies to Curacao to assist it with coping with the recent spike.

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