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Covid-19 latest updates: India vaccination drive from Jan 16, UK at worst point

 Edited by Kanishka SarkarAgencies

UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2021 11:47 PM IST

In the first phase of the vaccination drive in India, around 30 million health and frontline workers will be given the vaccine.


While India is set to begin the “world’s largest vaccination drive” from January 16, Britain is ramping up its mass rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations despite which the next few weeks of the pandemic may be the worst yet, according to a top medical officer.


Meanwhile, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE raised their Covid-19 vaccine production target for this year to two billion shots. The previous production target was 1.3 billion doses.


Here are latest updates on the pandemic from around the world:

India: The government has sent the much-delayed purchase order for 11 million coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine doses to Serum Institute of India (SII), according to people familiar with the development. With that, the movement of vaccine shipments is likely to begin either by late Monday night or early Tuesday morning to different states. The vaccination drive in the country will begin on January 16. In the first phase, around 30 million health and frontline workers will be given the vaccine.


UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned his government may be forced to tighten the coronavirus lockdown if people fail to follow the rules. Any “complacency” about the pandemic is completely misplaced, Johnson said, even though an immunisation program is well under way and two million people have received shots so far.


England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty has warned the next few weeks of the pandemic will be the worst yet, with deaths and cases hitting record highs, putting the health service under huge pressure. This comes at a time when a new variant of the coronavirus has emerged in the UK, following which many countries have restricted travel to and from Britain.


US: When asked when the US could achieve Covid-19 herd immunity, Moncef Slaoui, the White House head of the Warp Speed Operation Initiative, said “I hope in May or June.” Meanwhile, New York City is vaccinating at more than twice the national rate, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We are going to keep speeding that up further and further,” he said.


China: A team of international experts from the WHO will arrive in China on January 14, Chinese authorities said on Monday. However, a health expert affiliated with the WHO said, expectations should be "very low" that WHO team tasked with investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic will reach a conclusion from their trip to China this month.


What WHO says about vaccination: As India launches the world's most ambitious vaccination drive against Covid-19, the country will encounter the formidable challenge of rapidly scaling up distribution of the vaccines to secure immunity for its entire population, two prominent Indian scientists at WHO have said. This daunting challenge is not only for India but also for all the governments across the globe as they start inoculating their populations to tackle the pandemic, noted Dr Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of WHO, and Dr Hamsadvani Kuganantham, consultant, WHO.