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UK becomes world's first to roll out Oxford vaccine as cases surge

Britain touted a scientific "triumph" as dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, became the first person to get the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot outside of a trial

Coronavirus Vaccine | UK | AstraZeneca

Alistair Smout & Guy Faulconbridge | Reuters  |  London 

Coronavirus, vaccine, ASTRAZENECA, OXFORD, covid, drugs, clinical trials
Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, and a professor of paediatric infection and immunity, receives the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford | Photo:AP/PTI

Britain began vaccinating its population with Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 shot on Monday in a world first, racing to give protection to the elderly and vulnerable as a new surge of cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

Britain touted a scientific “triumph” as dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, became the first person to get the Oxford/shot outside of a trial. As major powers eye the benefits of being first out of the pandemic, Britain is rushing to vaccinate its population faster than the United States and the rest of Europe, although Russia and China have been inoculating their citizens for months.

Just under a month since Britain became the first country to roll out the vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, Pinker, who has kidney disease, received the Oxford/shot. “I am so pleased to be getting the Covid vaccine today and really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford,” Pinker, a retired maintenance manager, said just a few hundred metres from where the vaccine was developed.

Meanwhile, Scientists are not fully confident that vaccines will work on a new variant of the coronavirus found in South Africa, ITV's political editor said on Monday, citing an unidentified scientific adviser to the British government. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier on Monday that he was incredibly worried about the new variant.

‘To consider state of emergency in Tokyo’

Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga says vaccine approval is being speeded up and he promised to consider declaring a state of emergency. Tokyo Governor and the governors of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa had asked the government Saturday to declare the emergency after the capital saw a record 1,337 cases on New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, China vehemently refuted the US charge that coronavirus was leaked from a bio lab in the country and asserted that the pandemic was likely to have been caused by separate outbreaks in multiple places in the world. PTI

Singapore economy shrinks record 5.8%

Singapore marked its worst ever recession in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although contraction moderated in the fourth quarter as the city-state lifted more coronavirus-related curbs, putting the economy on path to a slow and patchy recovery. The bellwether economy shrank 5.8 per cent in 2020, preliminary data showed on Monday, slightly better than the official forecast for a contraction of between 6.5 per cent and 6 per cent. The government has previously said it expects GDP to grow 4 per cent to 6 per cent this year. Reuters

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First Published: Tue, January 05 2021. 02:15 IST