Home News Coronavirus LIVE Updates: WHO Says Half a Billion Doses to be Available in First Quarter of 2021, Biden Says Vaccine will Not be Mandatory

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: WHO Says Half a Billion Doses to be Available in First Quarter of 2021, Biden Says Vaccine will Not be Mandatory

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Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: The World Health Organization hopes to have half a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines available for distribution by the global COVAX initiative in the first quarter of 2021, its chief scientist said on Friday. To date 189 countries have joined the COVAX programme, which is backed by the WHO and seeks to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. The United States is not among them, having secured bilateral deals. The initial COVAX plan is to vaccinate the 20% of populations at highest risk, including health workers and people aged over 65.

Here are the latest updates on Coronavirus:

• US President-elect Joe Biden said that Americans will not be forced to take the coronavirus vaccine and he is willing to get vaccinated publicly to assuage any concerns about its efficacy and safety. “I don’t think they should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power just like I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide,” Biden told reporters at a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden was responding to a question if COVID-19

vaccine be made mandatory. Biden, who is due to take office on January 20, said he will make sure that the vaccine is both free and available and that any follow up on the vaccine is free and available that relates to any health complications from it.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that experts believe that the wait for a Covid-19

vaccine will not be long and it may be ready in a few weeks, asserting the vaccination drive in India will begin as soon as scientists give the nod. In his remarks at an all-party meeting held virtually, PM Modi said healthcare workers involved in treating Covid-19 patients, frontline workers, who include police personnel and municipal staff, and old people suffering from serious conditions would be inoculated on priority.

• Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of both 86,612 active cases and 47,472 fatalities in the country, according to health ministry data. In terms of active cases, Maharashtra is followed by Kerala with 61,342 cases and Delhi with 29,120 cases. As far as the number of fatalities is concerned, Maharashtra is followed by Karnataka (11,821) and Delhi (9,424). Maharashtra also accounts for the highest number of recoveries so far which is over 17 lakh. The health ministry said 80.19 per cent of the new recovered cases reported in a span of 24 hours are contributed by 10 states and union territories — Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

• India is the largest buyer of Covid-19 vaccines in the world with 1.6 billion doses, according to a global analysis, a number some scientists say could cover 800 million people, or 60 per cent of its population, and will be enough to develop herd immunity’. India has purchased 500 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, one billion from the US company Novavax and 100 million doses of the Sputnik V candidate from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, according to the US-based Duke University Global Health Innovation Center.

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