Published Thursday, February 11, 2021
AstraZeneca vaccine against covid-19
recommended by WHO
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services
The World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, SAGE, has issued interim recommendations for use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, AZD1222, in people over the age of 18.
According to the experts, the vaccine has gone through established development, manufacturing and clinical testing procedures and is demonstrated to be safe, efficacious, and meets manufacturing standards.
Only one vaccine against covid-19, the Pfizer-BioNTech, has received emergency use listing by WHO. Several other vaccine candidates are being assessed.
WHO has issued interim recommendations for the use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, for the use of the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine and for the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, according to the South African Department of Health, the effectiveness of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is limited against the South African coronavirus variant, and although it is effective in severe infections, it offers minimal protection in mild and moderate cases.
A study with 2,000 volunteers led South Africa to suspend the launch of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country. The new variant of covid-19 is responsible for 90% of covid cases in South Africa, which has already recorded more than 1.4 million coronavirus cases and 46,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
AstraZeneca was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech.
In 2020, the Costa Rica government signed an agreement with the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to buy one million doses of its vaccine, AZD1222.
According to the government, each dose will be priced at $4, so the estimated price of this purchase is at least $4 million, without including additional distribution costs. Vaccine purchases would be made with funds from the National Emergency Fund that is being used to face the crisis caused by the pandemic. The vaccine would be administered in two sessions, meaning that one million doses would cover half a million people. However, the vaccine arrival date has not yet been set.
Meanwhile, deaths and infections continue to increase according to the most recent statistics of the covid-19 evolution published by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday:
• 75,113 doses of covid-19 vaccines have been applied since December 2020. Reaching a national vaccination rate of 1.45 per 100 inhabitants. Of those already vaccinated, 63,775 were applied to first responders and 11,338 to the elderly in long-stay homes and workers in these centers, according to Social Security.
• 486 new covid-19 cases are reported, bringing the total to 36,051 current active cases.
• 24,511 foreign-born people have been infected as part of the 198,338 cases since March, approximately 12.3% of the total cases. Of these, authorities confirmed the death of 32 foreign-born patients. But since October, there is no updated information about foreign-born deaths due to covid-19.
• 366 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 161 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions. Their ages range from 24 to 91-years-old. And 205 patients are in recovery rooms. Many of the remaining infected patients are quarantined in their homes.
• 159,586 patients have fully recovered, an 80% recovery rate of the total cases since March.
• 617,086 covid-19 tests have been conducted in Costa Rica since March, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering of Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
• 2,701 deaths are listed as covid-19 related, approximately 1.4% death rate. Of these 1,016 are women and 1,685 men. The ages range from a 2-year-old to a 101-year-old.
Readers can see the current number of infected people in each district on the National Distance Education University on its Covid-19 Map.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed more than 2.3 million people worldwide.
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