Geneva, July 11 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has found very rare cases of heart inflammation following vaccination with the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna, but the benefits still outweigh the risks.The cases were mild, and found more often in young men after the second dose, said the global health body.WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis had been reported in the US and several other countries. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is an inflammation of the lining that surrounds the heart. "Very rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed following vaccination with the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. These cases occurred more often in younger men and after the second dose of the vaccine, typically within a few days after vaccination. Current evidence suggests a likely causal association between myocarditis and the mRNA vaccines," the WHO said in a statement.The available data also suggest that the immediate cause of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination is generally mild and responds to rest, treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, etc. Nearly 40.6 cases of myocarditis per million second doses among males and 4.2 cases per million among females have been reported as of June 11, 2021 in people aged between 12 and 29 years who received the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, according to the data in the US Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). For persons over 30 years of age, the reporting rates were 2.4 and 1.0 per million second doses, respectively, for males and females.The link was also confirmed by the European Medicines Agency, Europe's drug regulator. EMA's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) confirmed "a plausible causal relationship between myocarditis and the mRNA vaccines" in Europe.Yet, "the benefits of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines continue to outweigh the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis even among young people, the WHO said. Symptoms indicative of myocarditis or pericarditis include new onset and persisting chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations following vaccination. The global health body advised clinicians to be aware of the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis with mRNA vaccines and people most likely to be affected -- adolescent or young males. It also asked vaccinated individuals to seek immediate medical attention if they develop any such conditions.--IANSrvt/dpb
Washington, July 9 (IANS) Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that they were developing a Covid-19 booster shot intended to target the highly transmissible Delta variant, according to US media reports.Concerns continue to rise as the Delta strain has already become the dominant variant in the US, causing increasing infections, Xinhua news agency quoted the reports as saying on Thursday.The two companies said they believe a third shot of their current two-dose vaccine has the potential to preserve the "highest levels" of protection against all currently known variants, including Delta, but they are "remaining vigilant" and developing an updated version of the vaccine, a CNBC News report said."These findings are consistent with an ongoing analysis from the companies' Phase 3 study," the companies said in a statement issued on Thursday. "That is why we have said, and we continue to believe that it is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within six to 12 months after full vaccination."Clinical studies could begin as early as August, subject to regulatory approvals, the companies said.Executives from Pfizer and BioNTech have said people will likely need a booster shot, or third dose, within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated because they expect vaccine-induced immunity to wane over time.--IANSksk/
Canberra, July 7 (IANS) Australians under the age of 40 could become eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines around September or October, a top official announced here.Following a meeting with authorities on Tuesday Lt. Gen. John Frewen, who heads the federal government's Covid-19 vaccination task force, revealed that the country expects to have enough doses of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines to make them available to people under the age of 40 from September to October, reports Xinhua news agency."On the current supply forecasts that we have, I think that's when we are getting closer to having greater choice," Frewen told reporters."But I won't tie myself to specific dates at this stage."Frewen said that younger Australians could be given a choice about which mRNA vaccine they receive when there is enough supply available."When we have adequate supplies I think that's a logical step, but for now we have to prioritise because the supplies of one of the vaccines is limited," he said.Till date, about 8.4 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Australia, including approximately 8,000 younger Australians who have received the AstraZeneca jab."AstraZeneca is open to under 40s with informed consent with their GPs," Frewen said."We're seeing demand right now in that group of people to take AstraZeneca now rather than wait for an alternate later in the year."Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been 30,832 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Australia, with 910 deaths.--IANSksk/
Tel Aviv, July 6 (IANS) The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 has dropped to 64 per cent in Israel, the country's Ministry of Health said.The new figure refers to the period between June 6 and July 3, and it is significantly lower than the effectiveness rate of 94.3 percent in protection against infection, measured between May 2 and June 5, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying on Monday.It noted that the decline was observed along with the spread of the Delta Covid-19 variant in Israel.However, the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing hospitalisations and severe coronavirus disease is currently estimated at 93 per cent in Israel.The Ministry currently promotes the administration of a third vaccine dose to those who have suffered a functional decline in the immune system, but there is currently no decision to launch a third dose campaign for the entire population.Since the start of the vaccination campaign in Israel on December 20, 2020, over 5.65 million people, or 60.6 per cent of the population, have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 5.18 million have received the second dose.--IANSksk/
Wellington, July 5 (IANS) The largest-ever shipment of Pfizer vaccines against coronavirus arrived in New Zealand two days ahead of schedule thanks to a joint effort by the Ministry of Health, Pfizer and logistics company DHL, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday.The shipment of 150,000 doses landed on Sunday afternoon, Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying. The vaccines were taken straight from the tarmac at Auckland airport to the storage and distribution centre, where quality checks were carried out to ensure ultra-low temperatures were maintained during the flight and that none of the vials were damaged in transit, Hipkins said in a statement."Staff worked late last night to pack and get the vaccine ready for shipment by road and air to District Health Boards (DHBs) and vaccination centre around the country today."With our first July shipment safely on the ground and 1 million doses arriving this month, over the coming weeks we can start to ramp up the number of vaccines being administered," he added.New Zealand had distributed nearly all of its supply of the Pfizer vaccine in storage, giving DHBs enough stock to last until Wednesday, according to the Minister. --IANSksk/
New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) The Centre on Tuesday granted approval to the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to enter the Indian market as the fourth vaccine in its arsenal to fight the deadly pandemic, adding that the next in line is the Pfizer vaccine.Member of NITI Aayog, V.K. Paul, made the announcement at a press conference, saying that "new drug permission has been granted to Moderna, the first internationally developed Covid vaccine".Paul, however, made it clear that the new drug permission is for restricted use and that Moderna will be administered in two doses.Moderna thus became the fourth vaccine which has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) after AstraZeneca's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Sputnik V developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute.While making the announcement regarding opening of the Indian market for Moderna and mentioning that Covaxin, Covishield, SputnikV and Moderna will now be available in the fight against Covid, Paul said "India will soon close the deal on Pfizer as well".Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Cipla Ltd on Tuesday received approval from the DCGI to import the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc for restricted emergency use.Cipla had filed an application with the DCGI on Monday to import the vaccine.The entry of Moderna vaccine is a significant move amid India's accelerated vaccination drive to inoculate as many people as soon as possible. The new drug would undoubtedly help better the supply constraints, besides allaying the fears of a possible third wave of the pandemic.Earlier in the day, Johnson and Johnson had said that it is in talks with the Indian government to explore ways to speed up the delivery of its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine in the country.So far, India has administered more than 31.90 crore (32,90,29,510) vaccine doses, including 52,76,457 doses in the last 24 hours.--IANSrak/arm
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